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Garth Brown |

You may have noticed when I've written about roots I've said nothing about parsnips. The reason is I screwed up last fall. Parsnips sweeten dramatically after some frosts and cool weather. They convert starches into sugars when the cold arrives. I like to maximize the flavor in my foods, so I left the parsnips in the ground through a bunch of frost in October. November rolled in. I harvested all the other roots, but wanted to push the parsnips to the bitter end. Mid-November came and I thought "I should dig the parsnips". I didn't. It snowed heavily over Thanksgiving. Then thawed. I thought, "I should dig the parsnips now", but didn't. Then it froze up a bit again. Over Christmas it thawed, and again I thought, "I should dig the parsnips", but I didn't. Finally, just before the New Year Garth tried to dig some parsnips. He couldn't. The ground had frozen too solidly.

So we've been waiting until now to get our parsnips. We dug them all on Sunday before the warming soil and longer days tell them to grow. They're in the cool dark damp of the root cellar right now. I hope we get a few more months of reasonable quality out of them. The are still quite good right now, though one interesting thing I've noticed already is that they seem sweeter at the tips of the roots than up at the top. I'm not sure why that is.


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