The parsnip has been cultivated in Europe for centuries. It was especially popular before the arrival of the potato and was used as a valuable source of carbohydrate.
Parsnips contain natural sugars which impart a sweet taste to the vegetable. The Elizabethans used parsnips as a sweetmeat with honey and spices as well as serving the root as a vegetable. The carbohydrate in parsnips is stored in the form of natural sugars. This contrasts with the potato where the carbohydrate is 90% starch. Parsnips are considered sweeter than carrots. With almost three quarters of the sugar in parsnips as sucrose, the sugar we extract from sugar cane. By comparison, sucrose accounts for only one third of the sugar in carrots. Sucrose is not at all damaging to health when consumed in its natural form in its parent plant.
Culpeper (1653) writes that ‘the garden parsnip nourisheth much and is good and wholesome, but a little windy whereby it is thought to procure bodily lust; but it fatteneth the body if much used. it is good for the stomach and reins (kidneys) and provoketh urine’.
Today we appreciate that the parsnip is not fattening, with a mere 20Kcal per 100g. Compare this to fats and oils at around 900Kcal per 100g.
Kevin Pederson has been managing a number of natural home remedies websites which have information on home based natural cures and remedies by some of the common itmes in house as well as parsnips.