Parsnips are believed to be native to the Mediterranean area and northeastward,including the Caucasus. The Romans believed that the parsnip had medicinal as well as food value. One story is that Emperor Tiberius imported them from Germany, where they grew in profusion along the Rhine. It is possible that the Celts of that part of Europe had brought the parsnip back from their forays to the east hundreds of years before. A German print, dated 1542, pictures the modern parsnip and another shows it under the name of "pestnachen," a Germanized form of the old Roman "pastinaca."
By the mid-sixteenth century the parsnip was a common vegetable and was one of the staples of the poorer people of Europe, as the potato is today. Parsnips were well known by the first English colonists in America. They were grown in Virginia in 1609 and were common in Massachusetts twenty years later. Even the American Indians readily took up the growing of parsnips.
When properly cooked-and this means steamed, not boiledparsnips have a sweet, nutty flavor. To obtain the full flavor of parsnips, they should be steamed in their skins until tender. Then they may be peeled and slit lengthwise. If the core is large, scoop it out with the point of a knife. The parsnips are then ready to be put through the ricer and served like mashed potatoes.
Smooth, firm, well-shaped parsnips of small to medium size are generally of best quality. Soft, flabby, or shriveled roots are usually pithy or fibrous. Softness is sometimes an indication of decay, which may appear as a gray mold or watery soft rot. Woody cores are likely to be found in large, coarse roots.
The parsnip is strictly a winter vegetable. Its flavor does not fully develop until it has been exposed to a temperature near freezing. Exposure to cold develops the sweet flavor. Scientists explain that at low temperatures the starch in parsnips gradually changes to sugar. At least two weeks exposure to a temperature around freezing is necessary for best flavor.
Benefits of ParsnipParsnips are excellent for improving bowel action, and have a beneficial effect on the liver. They have a slight diuretic action and leave an alkaline ash in the body. Parsnips compare with carrots in food value. If tender, they can be eaten raw. They are considered a starch vegetable and a summer food.
Nutrients in one pound
(c) Health-care-clinic.org All rights reserved
Disclaimer: Health-care-clinic.org website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.