I was just starting to shop at the Saturday Winter Farmers Market in Thornes, Northampton when I saw a display of what I took to be parsnips. There was another display of parsnips also at the Winter Moon Roots’ market table. I did a double take, and was told they were parsley roots! “Just dug them yesterday… Want try a slice?”, ask the man behind the table. In general I love to try something new and at the same time I did have some apprehension as I imagined a bitter taste. I bit into what looked like a slice of white carrot. Good news. The taste was a little like carrot although not as sweet and a mild parsley flavor bloomed and lingered in my mouth.
Adventuring with a bite of a pleasant and unusual food was a lovely way to start my market shopping. So I bought some! And I was given a bit of instruction. Don’t cook these too long or they’ll get really soft. With his advice in mind one of these roots went into a spring greens salad. The others are keeping well in the refrigerator awaiting a pilaf or maybe a stir-fry.
If you want to grow your own parsley root, look for a variety of parsley seed that is grown specifically for its root. I’ve read the popular flat leaf and Italian parsley varieties do not have roots that are good to eat. One can harvest parsley root in the fall and the remainder of the crop can be covered with straw to help it through the winter. If I get busy, next spring my very own parsley roots could be waiting to be dug up!