HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >



I like the taste of parsnips. I put it in chicken soup.
Most of it melts in the mouth but leaves behind unwanted texture.
I don't like the chewy, stringy roughage that comes with it.
Is there some way to purchase parsnips that won't have this?
Should I use turnips instead?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Parsnips with texture like that - especially after simmering in soup - are definitely OLD parsnips. If you're buying them from the supermarket, don't use the core of the vegetable, as that's nearly always very woody. Cut around it & you should be able to avoid the texture problem. Nice fresh young parsnips won't have that problem, but unfortunately you're not likely to find those at the supermarket. Farmers markets maybe, or grow your own.

    Parsnips shouldn't have any more fiber present than a carrot.

    1. i use white turnips-parsnip-celeriac in chicken soup
      the best is parsley root( petrushka) if u can find it

      1. thanks for your tips...if i use parsnips again I'll get the thinner ones and see they work
        I'll cut around the core and I try turnips instead..
        thanks again

        1 Reply
        1. re: sylvan

          Turnips are miles away from parsnips. Nice enough, but not remotely similar, IMO.

          Each to their own taste I know, but slightly caremelised, chewy, browned fingers of parsnip from around a roast chicken/piece of meat can be a real treat.

        2. I have read - in Martha Stewart, I think - that spring-dug parsnips are the sweetest. If your parsnips have a tough interior, put them through a food mill, which will leave the fibrous core behind.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            That works - but the only problem is that the resulting parsnips are really only good for a puree.

          2. When I bought these pasnips, they were really fat ones...next time I'll go with thinner ones and see if they're without the fibrous, woodiness that these were

            1. Turnips taste very different from parsnips. They are not, generally, interchangeable.

              Parsnips always have a woody core. If you're not cooking them for a long time, you'd probably want to cut out the core. They're one of my favourite vegetables - particularly in winter. They're not something I'd be cooking at this time of year. Lots of different ways to enjoy them - we roast chunks and steam grated shreds most often.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                I have good luck if I stick to the skinny ones -- they tend to not be pithy (and that's both in the US and in France.)

                They're all the rage in France, now -- three years ago you almost couldn't find them, and now they are being rediscovered as an heirloom vegetable, so they're almost, but not quite, common and not too hard to find any more.

                One of the producers at the market has started to grow them, but he hasn't yet figured out that the huge stonking parsnips the size of your forearm really aren't all that desirable.

                I *adore* parsnips, and find them utterly irresistable when roasted under a whole chicken. (that, and those amazing parsnip crisps that I gobble when I'm in England)

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Ah, if you like the parsnip crisps, you'll probably love the beetroot ones.

              2. do the thinner parsnips have no pith? woodiness center
                I cooked for hours over low heat for chicken soup and they melted in my mouth except for the woody part as I mentioned in my post.
                We know that parsnips and turnips have different tastes, that wasn't the topic
                It's great to know that the French are loving them. I know the folks down in good old West Virginia USA have been loving them since colonial days. I do believe all our ancestors were farmers and root vegetables kept well into the winter in cellars.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sylvan

                  historically (as in pre-war days) France farmed parsnsips, too - but they fell out of favour, as they were "poor-people food" and they didn't want the reminders....but enough time has passed that they're letting go of the bad memories.

                  I buy smaller parsnips -- carrot-sized, and have no problems with woodiness -- but the bigger ones I have to core (cut into quarters and cut the woody core away)

                  1. re: sylvan

                    As my earlier post, all parsnips have a woody core. It is just that in a smaller example, it is also smaller and not as woody in texture. Of course, what you give up in using the less developed vegetable is the better taste that you'll get in a more mature one. Buy the bigger ones and cut the core out.

                  2. thanks for all your responses
                    in the future when I buy larger parsnips, I'll cut out the core since that's the offensive woody part.

                    1. I am one who adores parsnips. They can be cut up into french fries and fried, and are better IMHO then potato fries. But, the best use, whether small or big and fat like the so-called woody ones, is to cut hem up in a beef stew - chuck beef, sauteed onions, parsnips and carrots, turnips, mushrooms, potatoes, beef broth, parsley and dill, and beef demi-glace for richness, cooked low and slow for 3-4 hours. I have to make this at least once a month. Under a roast in the oven with carrots, onions, and potatoes, parsnips are sweet and delicious regardless of their original size. Sorry to go on; I think I need to make supper.