Minoo shared a Spicy Parsnip Soup recipe in the South Arm Community Kitchen during one of the community kitchen in winter. Parsnips are considered a winter vegetable because they need the frost to develop their flavour. Hence, parsnips are popular in northern climates such as Canada because they don’t require a long growing season and store well through the winter.
Here are some notes that Minoo shared about parsnips.
Parsnips are root vegetable related to the carrot and a member of the parsley family. In fact, they look like a big, ivory-coloured carrot. Parsnips, like carrots, have been cultivated in Europe at least since the Roman times, though their prevalence decreased after the introduction of the potato from South America.
Since this is a winter root vegetable, I don’t really know if this is widely available in the supermarket these days since we are in spring now. Does anyone know? Anyway, I have a good guide in this post called Guide To Winter Root Vegetables that you might like to check out.
Selection and storage
Choose unblemished smaller parsnips over larger ones as they will be more tender. The best tasting specimens are freshly harvested that appear in markets and stores in the late fall and early winter. However, parsnips from storage are usually available through spring and even summer. Store them as you would carrots, in a cool, dark place such as the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, for up to two to three weeks.
Parsnips are a significant source of many nutrients. According to Health Canada, half a cup of boiled and drained parsnips contains about 70 calories, 2.7g of fiber (10 percent of the daily RDA), 30 mg of calcium, 302mg of potassium, 48 microgram of folate and 11mg of Vitamin C.
Peel and remove stem ends. If making mashed parsnips, add cream, butter, tarragon, chives and nutmeg as flavours which have an affinity with the sweet taste of parsnips. Parsnips can be added to recipes in place of carrots. Nutritionist Leslie Beck suggested the following ways of serving parsnips:
- shredded and mixed with hash browns
- peeled and grated raw into salads (best for small and tender parsnips)
- as a substitute for potatoes in stews
- shredded and added to a stir fry
- cooked and mashed in place of potatoes like this Whipped Carrot and Parsnips
This Spicy Parsnip Soup has a little kick with the addition of chili flakes. It is creamy and warming.
- a splash of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, and minced
- a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 6 parsnips, peel and chopped parsnips into chunks.
- 500ml coconut milk
- 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped or 1 to 2 teaspoons of chili flakes
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves