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We may not be as colourful as a carrot or as beautiful as a beetroot, but cook us right and we can hold our own with any member of the root vegetable family. 

We have a sweet, slightly nutty flavour and are at our best in winter when we can be roasted to bring out our natural sugars.

We’re closely related to carrots and parsley, so, we come from a distinguished family.  We look like a big creamy white carrot with a trimmed green top.  Just like carrots, parsnips grow under the ground.

People have eaten us for a very long time, since ancient times.


We're available all year round, with our peak in the cooler months from May to September.


Did you know?

  • Our name comes from the Latin word ‘pastus' meaning food
  • Emperor Tiberius is said to have imported us from Germany, where we grew along the banks of the Rhine River

  • In Tudor times in England, we were a common ingredient in bread

  • We now grow wild in England and some parts of Asia.

  • 13% of Australian households purchased parsnips, buying an average of 303g per shopping trip


There are many varieties of us with small differences in the shape of our roots. We are all sold just as parsnips.

Why Parsnips are Good to Eat

  • Our sweet flavour is because about half our carbohydrate is sugar. The rest are complex carbohydrates that provide energy for your body. We’re a top source of potassium and a good source of dietary fibre that supports digestion.

  • We're a good vitamin C source that helps protect your immune system. 

  • We also supply niacin (vitamin B3) and some folate.

  • 100g has 240kJ.

How Parsnips are Grown and Harvested

We're grown in well-drained fertile soil.  Our seed is planted in July-August and can take up to 6 months to mature into a firm carrot-sized root. We're harvested, when our top is about 4cm in diameter, by a machine that digs us out and picks us up at the same time. Our tops are cut off, and we're cleaned and packaged, ready to be sent to the markets.

Choosing Parsnips

Select those of us that are small to medium in size with a creamy-white, smooth, firm surface. Avoid large parsnips, as these tend to have a woody centre core.

How to Keep Parsnips

Store us in a recyclable bag in your fridge crisper and use it within 2 weeks.

Prime Growing Areas

History of Parsnips

We originated in ancient Europe and were once primarily used as fodder for pigs. Even today, parsnips are prized food for pigs in Parma, Italy –an area that produces delicious Parma ham!

In medieval times, we were claimed to have remarkable medicinal properties and were said to cure everything from toothache to tired feet!

The Romans liked parsnips and used them as money sometimes.  They also brought them to different parts of Europe and Asia.  Later, people from France and Britain brought parsnips to North America when they came to live there.  Parsnips were very popular until potatoes came along and replaced them as the leading starchy food.

Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Parsnips

Remove our skin with a vegetable peeler, then trip the top and root ends. Leave whole, halve lengthways or cut into 2-3 pieces to prepare us to cook.

Team chopped parsnips with potatoes to make a creamy, sweet mash.

Roast parsnips with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic or spices until golden and caramelised.

Add parsnip to warming winter soups and stews.

Try these warming parsnip recipes from Sydney Markets;