I love Fall, and particularly the color of the vegetables at the market this time of year. I have to say though, my family is so addicted to butternut squash, that I find I make that most of the time. Root vegetables are at their best in fall and winter, so I decided to pick up some carrots and parsnips in lieu of butternut squash.
Carrots are best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient – beta carotene, but also for a wide variety of antioxidants and other health supporting nutrients. Carrots have been found to benefit the cardiovascular system, vision health and cancer – specifically, colon cancer.
When selecting carrots, roots should be firm, smooth, relatively straight and bright in color. The deeper the orange color, the more beta-carotene present in the carrot. Avoid carrots that are excessively cracked or forked as well as those that are limp or rubbery. In addition, if the carrots don’t have their tops attached, look at the stem end to insure that it’s not dark – this is a sign of age. If the green tops are attached, they should be bright colored, feathery and not wilted. Since the sugars are concentrated in the carrots’ core, generally those with larger diameters will have a larger core and be sweeter.
Parsnips also a root vegetable are similar to carrots, although lighter in color. They are rich in fiber and potassium. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, makes us feel full, and may help reduce cholesterol levels. Parsnips are also low in saturated fat, rich in vitamin K and C, and high in folate. When selecting parsnips, look for characteristics similar to carrots, as described above.
Eating vegetables in the raw is always the best way to get all their nutritional value since cooking will strip them of some of their nutrients. However, having a diet rich in vegetables and fruit is most important, even if you don’t always eat them raw.
After purchasing my parsnips and carrots I wanted to prepare them so they’d be caramelized, just like when I roast my butternut squash. I came across a recipe from Nigella Lawson that I knew my family would love – Maple Glazed Parsnips I decided to add the carrots for color since parsnips are creamy white. Nigella’s recipe make these root vegetables taste like candy. Yum, they were so good!
Here’s the recipe…..
Maple Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
2 1/4 pounds parsnips and carrots (Approx. 1 1/8 pounds of each)
½ cup canola oil (I used about 1/4 cup)
½ cup pure maple syrup (I used about 1/4 cup)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the parsnips and carrots then halve them crosswise, then halve or quarter each piece lengthwise.
Place parsnips and carrots into a roasting pan, lined with heavy duty foil. Pour the oil over the vegetables and mix them well so that the oil covers all of the pieces.
Pour the maple syrup over the vegetables and transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Roast the parsnips for 35 minutes, or until they are tender and golden brown.
Hi, I’m Vicki Bensinger! I have been teaching culinary classes throughout Missouri since 1992. I offer personalized private culinary classes for individuals and small groups in the comfort of your home or organization.
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