Outwardly, parsnip resembles a white carrot which is a little wider at the top and narrows at the point. It has a distinct flavour all its own which some people find to be too overwhelming. The root is much sweeter than carrots if it is harvested after the first frost.

Parsnip has been cultivated since ancient times. The Romans grew it for food. Like any sweet vegetable, it has been fermented to make wine or beer. Settlers brought parsnip to America in the 1600s and the wild form is still prevalent today.

As many people don't like the pungent taste of parsnip, it is often used for adding a subtle flavour to stocks, soups and gravies. (Cook a whole parsnip in the stock and remove and discard at the end.) If you don't even like it that much, you can always feed it to your pigs and horses as it makes a good nutritious feed for livestock.

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Pars"nip (?), n. [OE. parsnepe, from a French form, fr. L. pastinaca; cf. pastinare to dig up, pastinum a kind of dibble; cf. OF. pastenade, pastenaque.] Bot.

The aromatic and edible spindle-shaped root of the cultivated form of the Pastinaca sativa, a biennial umbelliferous plant which is very poisonous in its wild state; also, the plant itself.

Cow parsnip. See Cow parsnip. -- Meadow parsnip, the European cow parsnip. -- Poison parsnip, the wild stock of the parsnip. -- Water parsnip, any plant of the umbelliferous genus Sium, the species of which are poisonous.


© Webster 1913.

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