Monday, 15 November 2010

Pick up a Parsnip


Temperature -4C in Edinburgh last night. It's definitely time to start digging parsnips. Here's a view from the battlefield.   'The Student' turns out to be a bit of a brute and took more than a bit of persuasion to come out in one piece (both of them). I stopped after two a) because I had plenty for the table. b) because I was fairly exhausted (and muddy) by then. (Sorry they're not cleaned up but the water is off now to stop freeezing pipes) I hope Daphne doesn't mind me stretching here Harvest Monday theme by one day, but it's not light enough to get to the plot any weekday. 
When we went grocery shopping last weekend Mrs M asked, as we approached the vegetable section, "What have we got from the plot  at the moment" to which I replied (just a little smugly). Oh, we've got parsnips, potatoes, carrots, swedes, seakale beet, cabbages, kale, brussel sprouts... leeks, oh and jerusalem artichokes.   We bought some mushrooms and moved on. 
    


12 comments:

  1. Those are some of the biggest parsnips I have ever seen. I can imagine that it was very difficult to dig them out.

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  2. Thank God I grow short ones, don't think I could cope with those! Am well impressed by your list of goodies, as always Mal you're a great encouragement.

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  3. Spot on snips Mal, I've just posted a photo of decidedly dodgy looking one!

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  4. Those are huge parsnips. Goodness. If I grew them they would stop dead at about a foot down as that is where the hard packed subsoil is.

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  5. Great looking parsnips, mud and all.

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  6. They are tremendous! That must have been like digging out a tree stump! You must have been very muddy after digging them out.

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  7. Those are huge! What variety are they?

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  8. Thanks for those kind comments.

    And Ruth thanks for your question. When I wrote the blog entry I thought it was "The Student". I'm a "Tender and True" man - up until now. It's the first parsnip I grew and I was so impressed with the flavour that I grew it again and again. As we are all told parsnip seed is notoriously quick to lose its viability. You have to buy a new packet each year - and you get so much in a packet that you never sow it all. I habitually offer the surplus around, as I know it won't keep. Usually everyone else is in the same position. So I never buy two packets and waste all the more.

    Last year, for the first time, I saved my own parsnip seed from some overlooked plants. Lacking the confidence that they would actually germinate I hedged my bets with some 'shop bought' seed. But hey, (and this is the genius bit) why not buy a DIFFERENT variety as the insurance policy? The worst that could happen was that the T&T would fail and I'd have some inferior roots. Otherwise I'd get plenty of both and make a comparison. In fact I'm happy with the flavour of both. And to be honest they both have as much inedible core as each other (too much).

    Now here's the surprise - aside from the fact that my home saved seed worked - on checking it turns out not to have been the Student at all. The packet says "Hollow Crown". I'm glad I kept the packet! Next year I'll see if any of my year old seed is still, in fact, viable and also grow a new (third) variety to be on the safe side. Any suggestions?

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  9. Well you certainly have a great harvest still going...I have nowhere near that much...but I knew it wasn't going to be a great winter for veg from the plot for me!!

    The parsnip is amazing...I only managed to grow one and it was nowhere near that size!!

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  10. Oh wow Mal, so that's a proper parsnip hey... I am wondering, does the taste change if you pick them when they are a little smaller? You talk about their inedible core, so does that mean you don't eat the whole thing?

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  11. Hi Ali, When they are young you can eat the whole thing, but they taste a bit bland. Better to wait until they have grown and there's something left after peeling them. Frost also makes them taste sweeter. But the downside is that the mature core becomes a bit woody and stringy even after cooking. It's best to remove the core once you reach this stage, I think some people are put off parsnips because they don't realise this!

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