Growing parsnips is a one-year project - sow the seeds in early spring, heavily straw-mulch the green shoots when they emerge, leave them alone over the winter, and dig them out the next spring. Exposing the plants to winter cold is what sweetens the 'snips and gives them their distinctive flavor. And there's nothing quite like freshly-dug parsnips roasted, pureed into a soup, or sauteed in some olive oil.
At first I thought I was in for bad parsnip news when I read in "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" that parsnips should be harvested before the green tops re-emerge in the spring. My greens were lush and about 8 inches tall, so I thought the veg could be mushy and icky when I dug them today.
But it appears I may have dodged that bullet, as I loosened the soil and revealed (well, tugged frantically to reveal) these other-worldly beauties:
It's a damp, mild day today, so the soil was yielding. I did nick a few of the parsnips with my shovel, so that's a "note to self" for next year--probably better to use a pitchfork and give myself wider digging berth. But now, all I have left to do is ponder what to do with these amazing specimens. Ideas?
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