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Jul 30, 2012 04:10 AM

Parsnip Question

From my basic wikipedia search, I have learned that the parsnip is native to Eurasia and originated in the Mediterranean region (while not more specific, I would assume including Greece/Italy - but not sure). However, I am wondering where the parsnip is now mostly grown/used in the Eastern Hemisphere?

I've been in Jerusalem/the Mediterranean Middle East for a while, and have never encountered a parsnip (though I've enjoyed learning how to use parsely root which certainly looks similar). So the question to the Chowhounds is where are parsnips grown/used in Europe/Asia?

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    Above is a link on parsnips and who grows them in Canada and why they are farmed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruthie789

      I think I have grossly under-estimated the non-popularity (in addition to the issues with the leaves). In Jerusalem they sell parsley root - which looks like a small parsnip - but clearly this is just gonna be a vegetable I will enjoy when in North America.

      1. re: cresyd

        They're EVERYWHERE in the UK, and increasingly common on mainland Europe.

      2. re: Ruthie789

        Like the turnip and potato, much beloved in my family's nook of PEI, too. Wonderful stuff.

      3. I imagine that they do not do well in the Mediterranean area or the Middle East. It is a matter of climate. They are extremely well suited to cold weather. Here, in the UK, parsnip is a very common vegetable in the winter with some saying that they are improved if they are not dug until there's been some frost. Certainly by the time you've reached mid-winter, they've developed into a good size with nice sweet parsnippy flavour. They then appear weekly in our dinners, in some form or another.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Harters

          While I'm open to learning more about how root vegetables are grown - carrots, turnips, beets and rutabegas are all grown in the Middle East without much difficulty. So unless the parnsip requires signfiicantly cooler temperatures than those root vegetables, that alone doesn't explain it.

          1. re: cresyd

            that's just it -- it does require significantly cooler temperatures. Carrots, turnips, beets and rutabagas won't survive a hard frost -- parsnips are just starting have fun at that point.

        2. Parsnips are standard in traditional English food, along with turnips. I've had parsnips with dinner at Rules, a very classy and very traditional London restaurant - roasted with honey. Delicious!

          1 Reply
          1. re: John Francis

            Not just English, John. They're standard food throughout our country.

            We roast, steam, boil, bake, turn into soup, mash for cottage pie toppings, add to stews, etc. Pretty much anything you can do with a root veg, you'll find a British recipe for it.

          2. I accidentally made parsnip french fries at Christmas last year. I had put them in a parchment paper bag with some oil and left them a little longer than I intended. The older people at the table loved them, the younger ones called parsnips old people food, the nerve! I now make them on purpose this way.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Ruthie789

              Parsnips feature in commercially produced vegetable crisps (chips in American English) , along with carrot and beetroot. And they make a very nice change from boring old potato.


              1. re: Harters

                I **love** their parsnip and black pepper of the most addictive combinations of sweet/salty/peppery/crunchy I've ever found.

                1. re: Harters

                  I met the owner at a food show in New York when he was just about to introduce Tyrrell's chips/crisps to the American marketplace. I've never seen the parsnip and black pepper crisps that sunshine842 talks about in the US, although I've had the chili and pepper crisps, which are excellent. I also like the cheddar and chive and the Worcestershire and sundried tomato crisps. Tyrrell's are seriously good, but they are quite expensive on our side of the pond. Are they a premium-priced crisp in the UK, too?

                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                    slightly, but not prohibitively so.

                    There's a little bigger difference by the time they get to France, and the logistics and import duties mean that they're a premium brand in the States. (They're shipping mostly air...and shipping air costs nearly as much as shipping heavy the costs are punitive)

                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                      Yes, they're usually a premium product is comparision with the leading products on the supermarket shelves but we're only talking a few pence. And, of course, they are really the only company doing the veggie crisps.

                      My usual supermarket, Sainsbury, has them at a normal selling price of £1.89 for a 150g bag but currently has them on "buy one get one free" offer, which reduces the price, per 100g, to 63p. That compares very favourably with their own label premium "Taste the Difference" range (my usual buy) which is at around 95p per 100g, for the cheddar and spring onion.

                      1. re: Harters

                        They are in short supply in the US. Only a few specialty food shops stock them. One place in New York City is charging $19.00 for five 150g (5.3 oz.) bags. That works out to $3.80 per bag or a little less than two and a half British pounds. So about 30% more than the normal price you pay at Sainsbury.

                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                          I guess a 30% uplift isnt too much like highway robbery for a transatlantic import.

                          1. re: Harters

                            Having spent a goodly amount of my professional life shipping stuff around the globe -- the freight cost probably runs somewhere in the neighborhood of 30%....