Did you know that carrots have cousins? The parsnip, a forgotten vegetable that is native to our country, because it was born in the Mediterranean basin. Already known in Roman times, parsnips were part of the basic diet of the population in the Middle Ages. It eventually fell into oblivion around the 17th century following the appearance of the potato in Europe, which replaced it in our plates.
The connection of parsnip to carrot and potato does not stop there. Indeed, we could consider parsnip as a mixture of these two foods. Like the carrot, it has a light sweet taste that appeals to all ages and can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, it is usually used as a substitute or complement to the potato.
After centuries spent in the shade, this winter vegetable, harvested between October and March, is making a comeback. Rediscovered by gourmands in search of old and forgotten vegetables, it acquires more and more followers, seduced by its particular taste.
You too, do you want to go there? Discover its benefits and how to cook in this article.
The 6 benefits of parsnip
Although a cousin of the carrot, parsnips are far from having the same nutritional values. Thus, its vitamin and mineral content is higher than that of its cousin orange. It contains vitamins B, C and E as well as potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper and iron. It also contains twice as much carbohydrate as carrots. In addition, parsnips are rich in fiber, protein and antioxidants.
This is what parsnip consumption can bring us:
1. It improves digestion
Thanks to its high fiber content, the parsnip is very beneficial for digestion. Indeed, the fibers promote intestinal transit and regulate it, thus avoiding dealing with digestive disorders.
In this regard, parsnips are particularly effective when it comes to fighting constipation. Indeed, most of the fibers that it contains are insoluble. However, they have laxative properties: they absorb water from ingested food, moisturize the stools and increase their volume, which promotes their elimination.
2. It helps to lose weight
In addition to contributing to the proper functioning of the digestive system, the fibers found in parsnips also promote the feeling of satiety. This makes parsnip a very good appetite suppressant and an ideal ally to avoid snacking between meals.
But that’s not all: parsnip is also low in calories. It contains approximately 70 calories per 100g and contains no fat.
3. It gives energy and defends us against diseases
Parsnip is a true condensed energy alone. First, it is full of vitamins B, C and E, and contains more than its cousin carrot. Then, it contains a large number of essential minerals, among which are magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. Finally, it is rich in carbohydrates: it contains about 17g per 100g. For comparison, note that it usually takes 100g to 150g minimum daily to ensure the proper functioning of our brain.
Thanks to all this, the parsnip strengthens the body and promotes its proper functioning. Energetic, the body also manages to fight much better against diseases.
4. It prevents the appearance of cancer
Its preventive action against cancer is due in particular to the presence of apigenin in its composition. This compound with anti-inflammatory properties helps to fight the development of cancer cells.
But that’s not all. Parsnip also contains falcarinol, which helps fight cancer by attacking tumor cells, even destroying them. In addition, there are many antioxidants in the composition of parsnips, such as vitamin C and E. Or, antioxidants also have a large role to play in preventing cancer.
Finally, the fibers present in parsnips help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
5. It promotes cardiovascular health
Thanks to its high potassium content, parsnips help prevent cardiovascular disease. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure and regulate the heart rate, which reduces the risk of suffering from a cardiovascular disorder.
6. It ensures the proper development of the fetus
Parsnips are also highly recommended for pregnant women because of their high vitamin B9 or folic acid content. This vitamin plays a vital role in the development of the future baby. As a participant in the production of body cells and red blood cells, vitamin B9 plays an important role in the process of making genetic material. It is also useful for the functioning of the nervous system, brain activities and the immune system.
Besides that, vitamin B9 also has a very positive impact on the pregnant woman herself. Indeed, it helps strengthen the immune system and helps fight fatigue, which can sometimes reach unusually high levels during pregnancy.
How to cook parsnips?
Parsnip is perhaps one of the easiest vegetables to cook. It’s simple: you can do almost anything with it.
It is cooked like carrot and potato. You can eat it raw but also cook it with water or steam, fry it in the pan or grill it in the oven.
Raw, you can grate it and eat it alone or add it to a salad. If you prefer it cooked, you will be spoiled for choice. You can make puree, using it alone or combining it with potatoes or other foods, such as carrots. Like the potato, it is also delicious in gratins, fries or simply sautéed in the pan. You can also incorporate it into your soups or use it as an accompaniment to your meat and fish. In addition, thanks to its sweet and salty taste, it combines perfectly with a large number of vegetables but also with some fruits. It is particularly delicious with other root vegetables as well as beetroot, pepper, apple, pear and orange.
No matter what dishes you incorporate it in, it will bring a slightly sweet note with a touch of hazelnut. And as if that was not enough, know that in parsnips, everything is eaten. You can use its leaves and stems to flavor your dishes.
When buying parsnips, choose firm, creamy white and medium size. Too small, it could dry out quickly and, therefore, keep for less time. Too big, it could be very fibrous.
Finally, note that because of its high carbohydrate content, it is recommended that people with diabetes or hypoglycemia limit their consumption of parsnips.
Did it make you want to add parsnip to your kitchen? If this is already the case, do not hesitate to share your favorite recipes with us!