I was out in the garden the other day and noticed that my parsnips, which I had planted from seeds that I had saved last year, were sprouted and very happy. In fact, they were in need of thinning. See, I had planted several seeds on each hole because I didn’t know if my saved seeds would actually be viable. Turns out, they are extremely potent.
So instead of following my own advice to snip off the extra sprouts with scissors, I opted to gently pull them out and put them to use in the kitchen. I was already dreaming of the magnificent salad I was about to create with these baby sprouts. Didn’t really know what it would taste like, but I was feeling adventurous.
Inside the house, I pinched off the roots of each little sprout, washed them with other greens like arugula, romaine-type lettuces and a little basil. After a quick spin in the salad spinner, they went into a bowl and were topped with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little soy sauce, sesame sprinkle and voilà! a gastronomic delight.
With the first bite, I immediately noticed that the combination of arugula and parsnip sprouts was marvelous. Why? Because parsnip greens, at least these parsnip greens taste just like parsley. Now here’s the interesting part:
Parsnips are a close relative to parsley. The leaf shape is the same, and some time ago the Germans developed a parsley that would develop roots: Hamburg Parsley. HP and parsnips look a lot a like. In fact, I had read somewhere (can’t remember where – so sorry) that seed companies sometimes substitute Hamburg Parsley for Parsnips because they have similar characteristics and the same growing conditions.
I’ve also recently read that parsnip leaves contain a toxin called furocoumarins that causes a skin reaction in sunlight. Does this explain my recent development of little itchy bumps all over my torso? I don’t know – but I’m pretty sure those came up before I ate the parsnip sprouts. Regardless, I’m not hurling, and I’m not blotchy, so maybe those toxins develop as the plant grows. I’ll have to ask a botanist and let you know. Anywho – toxic or not, they were delicious. I’m not advising anyone else to try this, or course, I just thought I’d share my experiment with you.
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