Every home gardener knows it.
One year, you produce crops so lush, so abundant, so profuse, that you’re convinced your gardening skills are unparalleled. Then the very next year, you can almost hear the whispering coming from the garden as the veggies declare, “It’s my right, as a living, growing seed, to deprive you of my bounty this year for no apparent reason.”
And so this summer, the zucchini plants refused to flourish (I know! Who can’t grow zucchini?), the eggplants lay down their drooping arms early, and the sugar snap peas refused to be either sugary or snappy. Only one garden bed flourished while my back was turned.
And this is why I find myself forced to:
#97 Explore ways to cook … Parsnips?
Months ago, I threw some newly purchased seeds into an empty garden bed which then appeared to stay dormant for so long that I forgot I’d ever planted anything. Imagine my surprise when these lush leaves appeared, seemingly by magic:
It was parsnips! Purportedly a winter vegetable, it had decided to grace my garden bed—no, take over my garden bed—with summer produce.
So what do you do with a glut of—parsnips?
It turns out you can make several delicious dishes, beyond the well known roasted parsnip.
The easiest dish to cook is from a recipe sent to me by a friend when I put out the call for parsnip help. Called Parsnip Puff, and featured in an early Beverley Sutherland Smith cook book, my friend had scribbled the word ‘great!’ by the side of it, which is always a good sign.
Not only does it taste richer, creamier and more flavoursome than plain old mashed potato, it even looks yummier:
Buoyed by this success, I moved on to the ever reliable, ever moreish parsnip chips.
Just peel a parsnip with a vegetable peeler until it’s been reduced to a pile of shavings, then drop these into a pan of sizzling peanut oil until they turn golden. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and try to stop yourself devouring them in one go. So delicious.
But why restrict yourself to savoury recipes? What about giving Catherine Berwick’s parsnip and maple syrup cake a try? Honestly.
It has a 5 star rating from 194 reviews, which is very impressive, but more importantly, it charmed my friends over the festive season:
But there’s no point keeping parsnip all to itself.
This zucchini slice from Taste (4.9 stars from 822 reviews!) can be raised to a 5 star rating with the addition of a grated parsnip (and carrot) in the mix. If you have fresh golden eggs directly from a friend’s chickens, it will end up looking like this and keep you going in snacks for… ooh, at least a day:
I’m now sold on parsnips, and plan to grow them again next year.
Although I fear they’re already out there muttering, “If she thinks she’ll get an abundant crop like last year … tell ‘er she’s dreamin’.”