Parsnips – another once a year vegetable?

15th December 2017

Much like the widely discussed sprout parsnips are also really seen nowadays as a once a year vegetable.

Post bonfire night the humble parsnip might start to feature in some families Sunday roasts, might even make it onto the menu in your local eatery as a soup or in a stew. It then runs full tilt into its big finale of Christmas Day only to then disappear, not to be seen again for another twelve months.

In 2015 the ‘snip gained itself a little bit of fame after a parsnip grower was featured in Hugh Fearnley W’s ‘War on Waste’. Huge mountains of healthy but rejected parsnips were broadcast on TV, along with the announcement that the parsnip grower had now closed his doors. The parsnip become the catalyst for the now infamous wonky veg movement.

There are three main varieties grown for commercial production: Javelin, Gladiator and Palace. Growing parsnips commercially is mechanically heavy, a topper is needed to take the leaves off, a harvester is needed to lift the whole bed and huge washing lines are needed to clean the parsnips. As each field used needs 8 years rotation between crops growing parsnips is a very land heavy exercise as well.

Parsnips have a very distinctive earthy but sweet flavour and are mostly served as a roasted vegetable in home cooking. They are nutritional thoroughbreds with high levels of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and iron. This makes them excellent for keeping human hearts healthy. They contain vitamins B, C, E and K and have high levels of fibre – perfect for reducing cholesterol levels.

As with all food in our supermarkets this year parsnips will be slightly dearer due to the 3% inflation we are seeing on foodstuffs (less than the inflation seen in other areas such as fuel and travel however). In recent years the supermarkets have put all the traditional Christmas vegetables on huge offers and last year Aldi put all the festive produce on offer for just 19p a pack. They sold two million packs of parsnips last year so hopefully the deal will be on this year too.

I seem to close a vast majority of my blog posts by concluding that the only logical thing to do is to each more fresh produce and this is no different. Eat more parsnips!

Merry Christmas!