Volume 1; Issue 18 October 5, 2009
It’s so hard to believe that our CSA season is over. Or is it? We want to say “thank you” to all of you for joining our CSA family this year. So we have decided to send you all a “bonus” box. We have been so blessed this season and have a bounty of produce still left to share. So be prepared for a harvest next week!
We have now harvested most of the produce. But there are still a few items left in the gardens. Fall is upon us – cold weather and all. So everything will be coming in this week. Again, we have been blessed to have you a part of our CSA family.
So from our house to yours,
Dan & Donna Moe
ITEM OF THE WEEK – PARSNIP – An Undiscovered Star
Still an ingénue waiting to be discovered in this country, the parsnip is a deliciously impressive performer in the fall, winter, and spring kitchens of Europe. Easily prepared for diverse roles, parsnip can be brought to the table as an appetizer, soup, salad, or side dish. Sweet and delicate best describes the parsnip’s outstanding flavors, while starchy, smooth, and light characterize its texture. Because of its starchy nature, the parsnip can easily stand-in for potatoes in meal planning. Parsnip is considered a winter vegetable because its flavor is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures for 2 to 4 weeks in the fall and early winter. The starch in the parsnip root changes into sugar, resulting in a strong, sweet, unique taste.
Parsnip looks like a pale carrot, which is no surprise as it is a member of the umbelliferae family whose other members include carrots, chervil, parsley, fennel, celery, and celeriac. This root vegetable grows best in cool climates and is grown for its white fleshy, sweet flavored and earthy taste. Nutritionally, parsnips are low in calories, about 130 for a whole one 9″ in length, and contain no saturated fat or cholesterol. That same 9″ parsnip can boast a 6.4 grams of fiber, 93.1 mcg of folic acid (that’s nothing to sneeze at), 59.2 mg of calcium, and 46.4 mg of potassium, and lesser amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, vitamin C, iron, and zinc.
As far as care and storage, store parsnips unwashed wrapped in paper towel, placed in perforated plastic in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. This will insure that the starch in the parsnip has turned to sugar. Your parsnip will be sweet and tasty. They will keep well up to three weeks. After cooking, refrigerate only a day or two. When you begin with a vegetable rich in flavor like the parsnip, it’s best to keep the preparation simple and allow its flavors to be fully appreciated. Parsnips are easy to prepare, and you’ll be well rewarded by their superb flavors. Following are some preparation suggestions:
RAW: Peel a parsnip, shred it, and add it to a salad. Its flavor is very mild and won’t intrude on your greens, but you’ll be adding nutritional benefits to your salad.
STEAMED, BOILED, or BRAISED: One way is to peel and thickly slice parsnips for adding to long-cooking bean or grain stews. Another way is to peel parsnips; then slice and add to soups early in the cooking stage for a delicately sweet flavor surprise. And a third way is to peel parsnips and then slice and steam in a small amount of water for 10 to 12 minutes to use as a side dish.
SAUTEED: Peel and shred parsnips. Then sauté in a wok or skillet with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and a little water until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Another way is to dice peeled parsnips and carrots, and sauté in a skillet with a little olive oil and water. Add a little lemon juice, wine, and seasonings and enjoy a tasty side dish.
ROASTED: Peel parsnips and slice in half lengthwise. Toss in a little extra virgin olive oil and spread out on a lightly oiled baking pan. Roast in a 400 oven for 25 to 35 minutes, turning frequently to avoid sticking and burning. Season if desired.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Steam parsnips and serve with your favorite entrée.
Roast parsnips with other root vegetables in a 400°F oven with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite herbs. Serve as side dish.
Simmer chunks of parsnips, then puree and add your favorite broth for a simple soup.
Add parsnip chunks to all your soups and stews for interesting taste and texture.
Potatoes & Parsnips in Squash Bowls
- 4 small squash, cut in half from top to bottom
- 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 parsnips, washed and chopped into 1-inch pieces, peeled if desired
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Half squash crosswise, remove seeds and place, cut side down, in a large baking pan; add 1/2 inch of warm water to pan and place in oven. Bake for one hour or until tender; remove squash from pan and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.
Fill a large stock pot half-full with water and heat to boiling. Add potato and parsnip pieces to boiling water; return to boiling and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain vegetables and place in a large bowl.
With a spoon, scoop out some of the pulp from the acorn squash, being sure to leave a 1/2-inch shell so that the squash keeps its shape. Add pulp to the potato mixture. Add milk to mixture and mash with a fork — it will be a little lumpy. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a paring knife, trim the bottom of each squash half so that they will sit steadily cut side up, making “bowls.” Fill each squash bowl with about 1/2 cup of the potato mixture and place back into baking pan. Cover squash with a foil tent and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes until heated through.
Yields: 6 servings.
Kale and Parsnips Recipe
- 1 cup onions, halved and sliced
- 1 cup parsnips, halved and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon corn oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons ginger, minced
- 1 quart kale, veins removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Sauté the onions and parsnips in oil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Add the water and ginger. Cover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale and continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes longer. Stir occasionally but keep the saucepan covered otherwise. Serve hot.
Yield: 4 servings
This Week’s Items:
- Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin
- Kennewick White Potatoes
- Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers Mixed
- Sugar Baby Watermelon