Here’s a question for you: What’s wrong with these parsnips?
We are such fussy shoppers, picking over fruit and veg to find the most attractive. I guess more attractive veg not only appeals to our eyes, but maybe also seems more healthy and nutritious.
Parsnips (as well as carrots) aren’t the most attractive vegetables. If you’re buying them for parsnip mash or to go in soup, their appearance really doesn’t come into it. So, I’d normally opt for bigger ones, as they’re just easier to peal. My favourite way to have parsnips is roasted (isn’t everyone’s?!) and this is where the size and shape is a little more important. When I’m cooking roast parsnips, its even more important for them to be big; otherwise the spindly ends end up burnt to a crisp and inedible.
Bearing in mind my criteria for a perfect parsnip, can you answer the question yet?
If you can, I’d appreciate you letting me know. Because I can’t answer the question. They came from a bag of ‘a little less than perfect’ parsnips.
They are more than twice as chunky as the normal (presumably ‘completely perfect’) parsnips and about 60p less per kilo! And I don’t think it’s just that Waitrose put the wrong parsnips in the wrong packaging; for some reason, someone who presumably considers themselves a parsnip connoisseur has decided that the perfect parsnip is small and spindly, and will be 50% charred by the time I’ve finished roasting it. Making it (normally) very difficult to get chunky parsnips from a supermarket.
It’s frightening to think that parsnips this good
might not probably wouldn’t have got to the supermarket shelves were it not for Hugh’s ‘War on Waste’ that campaigned for less ridiculous veg standards. They didn’t used to. The point Hugh was making- quite clearly, to my mind- is that you can sell these just like you sell every other parsnip. They’re worse in no way (and as I have said, I think they’re better when they’re fatter). What the supermarkets seem to have heard is ‘This is a marketing opportunity to make people think normal veg is somehow premium AND make us look like the hero for selling cast-offs too’.
Don’t worry, I don’t plan on complaining too loudly- I’m more than happy to pay less for better veg!
The very best place to find big fat parsnips is your local market, and, as they’re loose, you can buy exactly the amount you need and you don’t need them in a polythene bag. Another way to cut down on waste.
What do you think about the ‘war on waste’? Would you choose parsnips that are larger than a size zero in the vegetable world?