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Produce Spotlight on Parsnips

Parsnips are a winter root vegetable. Their flavor is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures in the fall and early winter. The starch in the parsnip root changes into sugar, resulting in a strong, sweet taste. Parsnips provide fiber, folate, and vitamins C and K.


Shopping for Parsnips

Choose parsnips that are firm and dry with even color, ranging from off-white to pale yellow. Choose small to medium-sized parsnips, 8 to 10 inches long, for the best flavor and texture. Large parsnips may have a thicker skin and woodier center, but they taste great cooked. Baggged frozen parsnips are located in the freezer section of the grocery store.  


Common Types

All American – fastest-growing variety with a sweet, nutty flavor and tender flesh

Cobham Marrow – known as one of the sweetest parsnip varieties; used often in desserts or glazed with brown sugar

Harris Model – smooth, white skin with a sweet flavor


Storage and Preparation

  • Remove and discard any green stems before storing parsnips.
  • Store parsnips in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Scrub with a clean vegetable brush under cool running water just before using.
  • Place raw, peeled, and cut parsnips in a bowl of cold water with a splash of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown if you are not using them right away.
  • Freeze parsnips for longer storage. Cut into 1-inch cubes and blanch for 2 minutes for best color and texture. Place in a freezer bag labeled with the date and use within 8 to 12 months.


Serving Ideas

  • Cut parsnips, carrots, and celery into sticks and serve them raw with a low-fat dressing.
  • Toss parsnips and other root vegetables with vegetable or olive oil and your favorite herbs. Roast at 425° F for 25 to 30 minutes.  
  • Add chopped parsnips to soups, stews, and casseroles. 


Parsnip Math

1 pound of parsnips =

about 4 medium

3 cups raw chopped =

2 cups cooked 


Using Locally Grown Produce

For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website To locate places to buy local produce, visit


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 half cup; Calories: 50; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Fiber: 3 g; Fat: 0 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Sodium: 7 mg