Parsnips are an important root vegetable, being closely allied to carrots. They are used to a certain extent during the summer when they are immature, but generally they are allowed to mature so that they may be stored for use as a winter vegetable. Parsnips have an advantage over many vegetables in that they have excellent keeping qualities and are particularly hardy, being able to withstand considerable freezing and thawing when they are left in the ground during the winter. However, as they grow older, they develop a woody texture, as do beets and turnips, and so at the end of the winter require longer cooking than at the beginning.
In preparing parsnips for cooking, scrape them, if possible, instead of peeling them, so as not to waste any of the edible material. Then, too, try to obtain medium-sized parsnips, for they will be of much better quality than the larger ones. If uneven sizes must be used, the larger ones should be cut before being cooked, so that they will be similar in size to the smaller ones and therefore cook in the same length of time.
MASHED PARSNIPS - A very simple way in which to prepare parsnips is to mash them. Clean and scrape the desired number of parsnips and put them to cook in sufficient boiling salted water to cover. Cook until tender enough to be pierced with a fork, the length of time required to do this depending entirely on the age of the parsnips. When tender, drain off the water and force the parsnips through a colander or a sieve. Season with butter, salt, and pepper, and serve hot.
CREAMED PARSNIPS - Parsnips are sometimes cut into dice and then served with a cream, sauce. When it is desired to prepare them in this way, the accompanying directions should be carefully followed.
(Sufficient to Serve Six)
2 c. diced parsnips
2 Tb. butter
2 Tb. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 c. milk
Clean and scrape the parsnips and cut them into dice 1/2 inch in size. Put these to cook in sufficient boiling salted water to cover, cook until they may be easily pierced with a fork, and then drain. Melt the butter in a double boiler, and add the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir in the hot milk, and cook until the mixture thickens. Pour this sauce over the parsnips, heat together for a few minutes, and serve.
BROWNED PARSNIPS - Parsnips that are browned and sweetened with sugar seem to meet with greater favor than those prepared by other methods. To prepare them in this way, clean and scrape the desired number of parsnips, and slice them in thick slices, or, if they are small, cut them in halves lengthwise. Put them to cook in boiling salted water and cook until they may be easily pierced with a fork, but are not tender enough to fall to pieces. Melt some fat in a frying pan, and place the slices of cooked parsnips in it. Brown on one side, turn, and then brown on the other. Sprinkle with a little sugar and, if necessary, additional salt. Serve.