A root vegetable that looks like an overgrown white carrot, parsnips are an often-overlooked winter delicacy. Their flavor is sweet like carrots, but also rich, earthy, faintly peppery and a little nutty. Parsnips come into season in the fall, but their flavor actually improves when they're harvested later in the winter; cold weather causes the roots to convert some of their starch to sugar.
Parsnips are great for roasting, braising, and sautéing, as well as boiling and mashing.
Other white root vegetables, such as turnips, can often stand in for parsnips.
Look for roots that are firm and heavy for their size. Size itself doesn't matter, but larger parsnips often have a tough, fibrous core, especially in the upper, thick part of the root.
Simply trim away the tops and bottoms and peel as you would a carrot. If your parsnip has a tough, woody core, remove it by cutting the parsnip lengthwise into quarters, then slicing out the core in one diagonal cut.
Store parsnips in a loosely closed plastic bag (you want some air to circulate) in the crisper drawer of the fridge.