The Mighty Parsnip

This has a been a great year for parsnips, not just for me but for others growing in South Cambs. I have had a crop of large well flavoured roots with little rust or other blemishes.

Homemade Parsnip Wine

The flavour has been so good in fact that I have taken some for making parsnip wine. Today I simmered a pot of scrubbed and cut up pieces, 4-5lbs in weight, slowly until tender (but not broken up), before straining and then dissolving 3lbs of sugar in the liquor. Later when this cools I will pour into a demijohn and add a teaspoon of wine yeast. It really is a simple wine to make and I find the results are always good. After three months or so in the demijohn the wine will be siphoned into bottles and left to stand for a year – it’s a slow maturing wine but well worth the wait.

Growing Tips

I sow my parsnip seed towards the end of February in a bed dug the previous Autumn – so all I have to do is loosen the soil a bit with a hoe. I set the seed in rows about 18 inches apart and sow liberally – parsnip can be difficult to germinate – and make sure to thin out in the spring when the shoots are well established. Then it’s a question of keeping the weeds down and waiting. I generally don’t harvest until after christmas and a few heavy frosts, which produce a better flavour. For the last few years I have sown Gladiator with excellent results – it’s a good idea to get a variety which is rust-resistant, but much depends on the soil conditions in which they are grown.


About jonathanspain

My blog reflects my interests in local history in South Cambridgeshire, growing your own food, and walking in the district and elsewhere
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