Select Parsnips that firm and heavy for their size but if possible, pick those that are not the largest which may be tougher in texture. The larger Parsnips typically grow a core at the top of the root that becomes fiberous and should be removed before cooking by cutting it out or by cutting off the top of the Parsnip. Parsnips that are purchased out of season (season is fall to winter), may have a slightly woody texture. When preparing, remove the top and bottom of each Parsnip and then peel off the outer skin. To improve the consistency and texture, before roasting the Parsnips, parboil them for 3 to 4 minutes. Not only will this shorten the roasting time but it also will improve the preparation results for out of season Parsnips. Parsnips can be boiled to be mashed and puréed, braised or roasted. When storing Parsnips, package loosely in plastic but allow air to enter and circulate. Place the Parsnips in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator where they can be kept fresh for 12 to 18 days.
Parsnips go well with lamb, beef and game. In addition, they can be topped with sweet ingredients to enhance the sweet flavors of this root vegetable. Sweeteners such as apple cider, brown sugar or maple syrup can be used as baking ingredients or as flavorings after cooking to add to the taste. Also various vinegars such as balsamic or wine vinegars can provide an interesting balance for enjoying sweet and sour flavors together.