We all get excited when parsnips hit our menu. They are the first vegetable to be harvested in New England. That’s because they winter underground. There are 2 crops: autumn and spring. The spring crop is more rare, more work, many farmers don’t bother. But if you can find them they are amazing. The parsnips are like sugar after the winter underground. We’ve noticed you can tell you have a spring dug if there is a little green at the top, not much, just starting to sprout.
If you treat the parsnips right (keep them cool), they are sugary and soft and irresistible. If you let them sit out in warm weather they turn sort of woody in the center. It’s funny, they look sort of gnarly and tough, but they’re super fragile. We get ours from Western Mass and Rhode Island.
We’re about to run through the last of our spring parsnips this year. Look for them in our salads, soups, and our Parsnip Cheddar sandwich, which has been a huge hit. We’re days away from moving on to the next bounty of the season.