Yesterday I did some actual gardening for the first time since before Thanksgiving that didn’t involve looking at seed catalogs. We have had some slightly warmer weather recently and some of the snow has melted. I was able to go out in the garden and find a patch of ground warmed by the sun that had completely thawed. With some detective work and my pitchfork I was able to harvest some nice parsnips!
I think parsnips are an underappreciated vegetable. Many people think they are just a white carrot. The great thing about them is they are about the only vegetable you can harvest from November through March in New England. They are sweeter after the first frost. I use the big misshapen parsnips in soup. The nice looking ones can be cooked with a roast or even cooked quickly in the microwave with some carrots and butter as a side dish.
After a bit of washing I had a few nice specimens.
I can’t take credit for growing these. These parsnips are actually self-sown. All you have to do is allow some parsnips to go to seed in your garden over the summer and in late fall, winter, or early spring you can harvest some nice ones. Of course, if you want all nice, straight, symmetrical parsnips you can make a hole with a steel bar, fill it with compost and plant a few parsnip seeds in it. Thin to one seedling and in a few months you will have some really nice straight parsnips. That is too much work for me. Besides I enjoy the occasional parsnip shaped liked Massachusetts or Idaho. My gardening compatriot Chloe doesn’t mind the odd shapes either.