Parsnips are similar to carrots, but are lighter in colour, more nutritious and have a  sweeter flavour. The parsnip grows best in northern conditions, and is most flavourful after the first fall frost. Decades ago parsnips were a mainstay for winter cooking, but were largely replaced by the potato in the 1900s. Parsnips can be stored for long periods of time and are generally available locally year-round. They are harvested in early fall when flavor is at its peak.


Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese.  They also offer a very good source of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. They are a good source of riboflavin, folic acid, and vitamins B6 and E.  Parsnips provide similar nutritional benefits as potatoes except that they are lower in calories and protein, but higher in fibre.

How to Select

Parsnips should be firm, intact, and white in color; the whiter the color, the sweeter the parsnip. Avoid parsnips that are yellowing or browning around the core and parsnips that are excessively large. Large parsnips will have a woody texture. Look for parsnips that are heavy for their size.

How to Prepare

RAW: Parsnips can be eaten raw when small and tender. Wash, peel and grate into salads. In general, parsnips should always be peeled.

COOKED: Parsnips are best roasted, but do well steamed or mashed like potatoes. They are also a wonderful addition to soups. Cook them with other roots vegetables for a tasty casserole. If parsnips are excessively large, be sure to remove to woody core.

Simple Parsnip Recipe

Parsnip Fries & Dip: parsnips, butter, dijon mustard, maple syrup

  1. Wash and peel parsnips.
  2. Cut parsnips into rounds or sticks.
  3. Toss parsnips in salt, pepper and melted butter. Spread out in shallow baking dish.
  4. Place in 400 degree oven and cook 40 min. Turn parsnips over occasionally while cooking.
  5. In small bowl, mix 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp dijon mustard, and 2 tbsp maple syrup
  6. Enjoy dijon sauce and parsnips as you would ketchup and roasted potatoes.

Download Parnsip Fact Sheet in .pdf format