How to select for best flavor:
Buy well-formed, smooth, firm parsnips. Avoid overly large roots. They are likely to have a woody core. Avoid shriveled or soft parsnips. They are old. Misshapen parsnips are usually not a good buy because you will lose too much to waste in preparation.
Peak of the season:
Parsnips are at their best from October through January. They are hardest to get in May, June and July.
Parsnips contain protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B complex. They are also a good source of iron and dietary fiber. One cup of cooked parsnips contains about 125 calories, small amounts of fat, and 13 mgs. of sodium.
Wild parsnips were eaten by both Greeks and Romans. If you plan to gather wild parsnips, though, be careful. They are easily confused with the poisonous water hemlock.By the 15th century, parsnips were a staple food in Germany, especially among poor people. They were the potato of their day. Speaking of potatoes, try boiling and mashing parsnips with potatoes. It adds an interesting flavor and reduces the calorie content of mashed potatoes.