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 Post subject: Food Item: Parsnips
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:30 am 
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Food Item: Parsnips


Successful cold storage

By Sylvia Gist


Ideally, I would have a root cellar which maintained the correct temperature for the produce I would like to keep. Unfortunately, it’s not that ideal, so I have to look for other places to store things. Fortunately, different vegetables like different temperatures, so everything doesn’t have to go in the same place. Other storage options (depending upon the item) include in the ground, under a staircase, unheated rooms, outside stairwells, pits in the ground, or extra refrigerators, to name a few.

A storage method is only the last step to having successful cold storage and fresh vegetables in the winter. The first step begins with the seed catalog; it is extremely important to choose cultivars which store well. For example, not every type of carrot will still be edible the following May. Most seed catalogs are good at telling us which ones have good storage qualities. I have relied on their recommendations and have found particular cultivars of a number of vegetables that store very well for me.

Planting time and harvest time also affect the success of storage. Many storage vegetables are planted later and harvested after frost. In the following discussion, I will note what works best for me as I deal with a fairly short growing season and cool nights.

-snip- --- FULL article can be found at link, above ---

Rated as the hardiest of all root vegetables, the parsnip could be awarded “best of show” when it comes to storage. Harris Model and related cultivars are popular. Since all parsnips are intended for storage, choose one that fits your needs (some are resistant to disease, etc.). Dig a deep bed and plant fresh seeds early in the spring, March through May (depending upon your season). Be patient as they may germinate slowly (up to 28 days). It takes a long season (100-120 days) and freezing weather to produce tasty parsnips. Frosty weather helps starch in the root turn to sugar so they taste sweeter. Then you can begin harvest.

You actually have four options. You can take advantage of all four. First, after a few moderate to heavy frosts, you can dig some to eat immediately. Because the roots can get very long, digging, not pulling, is recommended. Or to keep the ground from freezing, put down some mulch so you can dig later.

Even though the ground may not freeze under the mulch, you may not want to go out and dig in mid-winter; dig and store some in the cellar. These roots should have the leaves trimmed and be stored like carrots in damp sand, moss, or sawdust. Ideal conditions are 32-35 degrees and 90-95% humidity.

And for the final option, when the ground thaws in the spring, go out and dig the sweetest parsnips. They will be good until new leaves are formed; they get woody after they begin to grow. With parsnips, the last really could be the best.

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