Parsnips – A crop too many?

I’m having a rethink about what I should be growing in my garden.  Sometimes I think I like the idea of a vegetable more than the reality of it.  Take parsnips for example.  I like parsnips, I enjoy them roasted, I enjoy them in soup…and that’s probably it.  They are… fine, enjoyable to eat but not something I crave and that is the essence of the problem.

Last year I grew parsnips over winter, harvested them (except one), managed to make a couple of batches of soup with them and promptly forgot all about them.  Then this year parsnips appeared in my garden, self sown from the one I forgot to harvest.  This is what they looked like in mid September:

Sept 2014 028 (1024x678)

By the time I got back from holiday in October they looked like this

Trip 2014 146 (1024x678)

So I harvested them.  I pulled one, I pulled two, soon I’d pulled the whole lot.  Some were perfect(ish if a little small), others were those weird shapes that don’t make it to the supermarket shelves.

Trip 2014 177 (1024x678)

They filled my basket.

Trip 2014 183 (1024x678)

Then they sat in that same basket for 3 days, looking at me accusingly until they started looking too wrinkly for me to bother to do anything with them.  So I composted them.

This happens to me quite a lot.  And not always with parsnips.  It’s fine when I’m growing cut and come again type crops, but when its something that needs to be dealt with then and there, and I don’t truly love it, the motivation slips and the harvest is wasted.

So with this in mind I’m going to be more selective about what I plant.  From now on I’m only going to grow things that will motivate me to cook, rather than things that require motivation to cook.  I need to finally admit to myself that my garden simply isn’t big enough to grow everything that I might like to cook.  I’m better sticking to the things I know I’ll use.  For me that’s not parsnips.  So instead I’ll just wait until the mood for soup strikes and buy them from the Farmer’s Market.  Or better yet knick them from my dad.

Sound familiar, do you grow things only for them to end up as compost?


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30 Responses to Parsnips – A crop too many?

  1. Natalie says:

    it’s so nice to see you posting again!

    i did this with turmeric – i grew 500g this year. and it turns out you can really only eat so much turmeric – and i’m too lazy to dry it and grind it up. so it went mouldy and i threw it in the compost. i felt so guilty!

    & now i’m wondering if i might have a similar problem with kohl rabi?

    • Liz says:

      My turmeric isn’t nearly vigorous enough for that to happen but I can see how it would. I have composted more than one kohlrabi in my life so if it was me then yes probably……

  2. Parsnip mash! Sweeter and silkier than potato mash and completely guilt free. Just steamed parsnips blitzed with the stick blender with a knob of butter and pinch of salt.

  3. Self sown parsnips? Many people find then difficult to germinate when they are sown ‘correctly’

    I think the main criteria for growing is to grow what you like to eat,

  4. Daphne says:

    I’ve done that in the past, but I’ve been pretty good recently about either eating my harvests, preserving them, or giving them away. Sometimes the compost gets fed though. It happens.

  5. Michelle says:

    That’s why I quit growing kohlrabi, though I actually got it cleaned up and in the fridge, but then that’s where it sat and sat and sat… And I’m not terribly disappointed that I didn’t get around to starting napa cabbage for this winter.

    Nice to see you back Liz, hope your trip was fabulous.

  6. Malcolm says:

    We have just harvested some Broccoli and as one would expect they all matured at the same time, so my partner, Judy made some soup. It’s now in little plastic containers in the freezer.
    I grow, Judy cooks. A good team 🙂

  7. foodnstuff says:

    If you have room let them grow and flower. The bees love them. I’ve never grown a good parsnip (well, maybe a couple), and now I just collect the seed and toss it everywhere in the food forest. I regard them as insect attractors rather than food.

  8. Amy says:

    I know the feeling. I have a nice bed of frozen cold weather greens that I didn’t have a chance to pick and quickly turn into tasty food.

  9. Keira says:

    That happens me more than I care to think about. I sent a few parsnips to the compost this year, along with a few very bitter greens that I planted because we should learn to like eating them. We didn’t learn to like them though, and we didn’t eat them.

    I have a very big space, big dreams, but not enough time or motivation to quite pull it off.

    • Liz says:

      I frequently think I should ‘learn to like eating things’ but sadly never do, except maybe olives. I love olives now but didn’t used to but then I didn’t grow them so I suspect they don’t count…..

  10. If you’re ever struck with a parsnip excess and you’re feeling very brave, there’s always parsnip wine:

  11. Bek says:

    All the time!!!
    I currently have asparagus sitting in my fridge that sends me accusing looks everytime I open it to get something. It will be quite ok in its water jar, but I just don’t feel like asparagus right now. That’s the thing about gardens. Even if you like the food in principle, you may not want to eat it exactly when it is ripe.
    What about parsnip soda bread? I also second parsnip mash. It tastes fab and freezes well if you make a big batch.

    • Liz says:

      Yeah I like parsnip mash, unfortunately the rest of the family don’t. But now that I know it freezes well if there is a next time…..

  12. Mark Willis says:

    I’m very careful with what I grow, and seldom produce anything we don’t like to eat, but that is as a result of many years of experience. In the early days, I sometimes grew something that only one of us liked and since we always eat meals together the crop was often wasted.
    Your Parsnips are VERY forked! I can see that the prospect of preparing them for cooking might be a bit daunting. Maybe the soil in which you grew them is too rich – recently manured, perhaps?

    • Liz says:

      Yeah I think the forked is partially lack of care on my part and partially because they self seeded and didn’t necessarily pick the best places to do it in.

  13. I think for me celery falls in that category. I couldn’t wait to try growing it. Then I discovered it takes forever from seed to table. This year it never got to a decent size, and it wound up on the compost pile. I won’t grow it again.

    • Liz says:

      Funnily enough celery is one of the things I should grow more of as I almost always eat it, but then here you can cut and come again which makes it a lot less daunting I think.

  14. Lisa says:

    I’m having the EXACT same issue with my beetroots!! I had planned to can them on the weekend but that didn’t end up happening…

  15. Lisa says:

    Oh and the Kohlrabi’s too as others have said

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