How to Harvest and Store Parsnips
Parsnips fit into family dinners, adding a hearty, flavorful vegetable to spice up the everyday offerings. Learning how to harvest and store parsnips allows you to enjoy this vegetable for as long as possible.
When’s the Season for Parsnips?
After a long growing period, parsnips are ready to be harvested from the group in the fall. This fall period will vary depending on where you live, but when the weather becomes cooler, the sugar in the parsnips will be released, sweetening the flavor. Some gardening experts suggest harvesting parsnips before the first frost, while others say that harvesting after the first frost is ideal. You can make that decision based on what’s convenient for you. However, harvesting too early may bring less palatable vegetables, while harvesting too late can cause the parsnip to be tough to chew.
If you’re harvesting parsnips from outdoors, you will need a fork spade or a regular spade. The fork spade is helpful for keeping the roots in tact for the next growing season. If this is not important to you, then use a regular spade. Carefully dig up each parsnip individually and place to the side. When you’re done harvesting your crop, you should cover the remaining roots as these can grow the following year.
Remove the excess dirt and roots from the parsnips, and you’re ready to use them in recipes. It is helpful to not wait too long to harvest as the ground can become hard as the weather gets cooler. If you want to wait a little longer on your harvest, add mulch over a few of the plants. This will protect them from the frost for a little while longer.
Storing Parsnips at Home
Place your harvested parsnips in an airtight container. These can be stored in a cupboard for up to six months without affecting the taste. If you don’t need to store them long, then use the refrigerator for a few days. Any longer in the refrigerator, however, and the condensation can affect the taste. Two months is the longest recommended time parsnips can stay in a cooler or refrigerator. You will not want to freeze these vegetables as the water inside of them can expand and damage their taste and structure.
Ready the Garden for the Next Year
Once you’ve harvested your crop, you might want to cover up the soil and add some nutrients to help encourage faster growth next year. Label the places where parsnips grew well, so you can plant there again or watch for new growth the next year. If you live in a milder climate, you can continue to plant parsnips in the fall and enjoy harvesting them again in the spring. The soil just needs to be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit to continue growth processes.
Parsnips are a vegetable which can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. By learning how to harvest them and store them for the coming months, you can save yourself a trip to the grocery store.