Parsnip Pleasures

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Late summer harvest

Potatoes, squash, and other hunks of garden goodness.

I should note right up front in this blog that I LOVE winter storage crops and the food that comes from it. Many people say they don’t and then indicate that they prefer the tomatoes and strawberries of summer. ( To be honest…I like it all!)
I’ve noticed that many people haven’t really spent much time “meeting” winter crops. By winter crops, I mean those yummy hunks of goodness that are harvested late in the year and store well over winter. 

Some examples here in western Michigan are:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabaga
  • Squash
  • Ida Red apples
  • Chestnuts
  • Sweet potatoes

Parsnips make potato dishes much more flavorful and interesting. Try some cabbage and chestnuts in your next stew.

If you are lucky enough to still have a farmers market open near you…pay it a visit.  You’ll be rewarded with extra nutrition, “stay-with-you” hearty food, and a dimensional flavor that many summer crops don’t give.

Here is one of my favorite winter recipes.  It is easy and tasty:

3, 2, 1 Potatoes!

  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled (or not, lots of good nutrition in that peel, wash well though)
  • 2 medium Parsnips, peeled (Rutabaga works too)

Chunk them up into 1 1/2 chunks or so and toss them in a pot of hot water.  Turn the heat on and bring to a boil.  After 10 minutes of boiling, add:

  • 1 large clove of garlic.  (just peel and toss in)

Boil for another 15 minutes.  Drain. If you used a colander to drain (I just use the lid of the pan to keep everything still in the pot and drain over a colander to catch the run-aways and put them back in).  While the pan is still hot, add:

  • 1/4 cup of cream (milk will do in a pinch, just up the butter a bit)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 dashes of black pepper.

Mash the potatoes.  I use my hand-held electric mixer to mash faster to keep every thing hot and result in a fluffy dish.  Ta-Da! 

A mix of just about any winter crop using the same 1 strong flavor (onions, garlic…), 2 medium flavor (rutabaga, parnsip, carrots), and 3 mild flavor (pretty much potatoes but I have used cabbage and chestnuts here and it went well) results in a great winter dish.  Flavors will vary of course…YAY for variety!!

I’d love to hear about your winter favorite winter crop recipe.  Email me at

Of course visit the website and our Facebook page.


About vkhanson

Travel back to simpler times. Experience for yourself the heritage skills of your choosing. Enjoy hearty foods and beverages while hands-on experiencing soap making, bread making, home canning, making jams and jellies, pies and more. Learn how these skills were made using old tools and seeing how today's technology can cut time and effort to a serious minimum. This is all undertaken in an 140 year old home, beautifully preserved. can stay here too! Amanda's Bequest, a Heritage Farmstay Bed & Breakfast is now available at Bygone Basics. An absolutely fabulous experience while gaining skills you will use to reduce food costs, ensure the safety of your foods, and re-live a piece of heritage that is fast becoming lost. Travel down Old Channel trail in Montague enjoying the magnificent view above White Lake. Enter Bygone Basics, located in the impressive parsonage, now known as "Amanda's Bequest," built in 1874 for the Ferry Memorial Church and then painstakenly moved (Rather than be destroyed). This is a great activity for female friends, bridal parties, generations of families, spouses, co-workers and so on. Each group is privately held so no extra people are involved. It is held in an atmosphere of laughter, great stories, and hearty food. Each Experience is priced based on the number of persons in the group and the type of experience. Times are flexible. Remember....a gift certificate would be a fabulous idea to ensure quality time with a friend or someone else who is special.

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