Tips in Choosing the Perfect Parsnip

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If kids love this sweet root vegetable, it must be good.  And it is – that is, if you can spot the fresh ones at the supermarket or at your green grocers.

There are several ways for you to recognize those that have overstayed their welcome in shelves and those that are really fresh.  It’s important that you know what specific “signs and symptoms” to look for so you’ll end up with the best quality parsnips on your table.

The Size – The saying “the bigger, the better” does not apply when choosing parsnips.  In fact, the bigger the parsnip is, the tougher and more fibrous it is.  Instead, choose from small to moderate-sized roots – those with a length of about seven inches.

The Color – Fresh parsnips are pale but evenly-colored.  Those that are not uniformly colored or have dark brown spots mean that it’s starting to rot.  It could also be an indication of freeze-burn.

The Feel – Crisp and firm:  these two mark the indication of freshly-picked parsnips.  Select parsnips the way you would choose carrots.  When held, it must feel dense and compact, not soft and shriveled.  The skin must also be smooth.  

The Look – When selecting parsnips, choose those without splits.  The roots mustn’t be too large, coarse and wilted.  Parsnips with this appearance will have a tough, woody texture, not to mention pithy centers.  If the parsnips come with tops still attached to it, choose those with vigorous, fresh-looking leaves. 

A member of the carrot family, parsnips are available all throughout the year, but they are at their best in the fall and winter when the cold helps them convert their starch-content to sugar.

And like its cousin, parsnips can also be stored longer compared to other vegetables.

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