Parsnip, but not a writer
Wow! It turns out that parsnips cannot be found in the store or on the market during the day with fire. Probably, you first need to become scarce, then to be in demand. And so it happened with this valuable vegetable and spicy aromatic plant.
Even in Ancient Greece and Rome, the root crops of the parsnip under the name “pastynaka” were used for food, feed, and for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks attributed it to especially valuable plants and believed that the use of parsnip causes pleasant dreams. And the Romans really appreciated the dessert - parsnip with honey and fruits. Manne, a French poet and thinker of the Middle Ages, wrote in one of his odes: "... as for the food that the parsnip represents, none of the roots will be the best food."
In Europe, he received mass popularity only in the 17th century. And before the appearance of potatoes on the European continent, parsnip was the main food product in the winter (along with turnips). They say that in Russia newborn children (apparently, instead of the nipples) were given to suck the root of the parsnip. Surely, not just like that. But with the advent of potatoes imported from America, interest in parsnips gradually faded, and they began to forget about it. There is even a joke that the parsnip, offended by Christopher Columbus, left our gardens. They just stopped growing it. But in vain. After all, this ancient vegetable is not only nutritious and tasty, but also extremely useful. Today, parsnip is back in fashion. Gourmets are especially revered by those who care about their health. It is more widely used in the Caucasus.
What is he, parsnip? Why is it valuable? How is it different from other vegetables and why is it worthy of the closest attention?
The vegetable received its name from the Latin "pastus" - "feed", "food", "nutrition". There are other ancient names: field borsch, white carrots, white root, pustarnak ... A plant from the celery family is a native of the Mediterranean. He is a close relative of parsley, carrots and in appearance resembles a large carrot, but white. Taste - specific, sweet-tart, with a very pleasant, delicate and unique aroma.
Parsnip greens - large shiny dark green leaves are a bit like parsley and celery leaves and also have a light smell and astringent taste. Both root vegetables and young leaves are suitable for food. Like most root vegetables, it refers to “winter” vegetables, that is, vegetables that are well stored and serve as a source of vitamins in the off-season. The nutritional value of the parsnip is very high. 100 g of root pulp contains on average: proteins - 1.4 g, fat - 0.5 g, carbohydrates - 9 g, fiber - 4.5 g, potassium - 300 mg, calcium - 30 mg, magnesium - 20 mg, sodium - 4 mg, vitamin C - 20 mg, iron - 0.5 mg, phosphorus - 50 mg, etc. Energy value - only 47 calories!
Can you imagine ?! This is a whole storehouse of necessary substances useful for humans. And also, it turns out that in terms of the amount of insoluble fiber, parsnip can compete with bran, which helps to normalize digestion. Essential oil, found in leaves, in root crops, and in seeds, gives a special aroma to parsnips.
Agriculture: contrary to advice
It is believed that it is difficult to grow parsnips. I think the main difficulty is that parsnip seeds are not always available in stores, and if you are lucky enough to buy them, then there is no certainty that they will sprout. Therefore, you can often hear: “Well him, this parsnip. Sow, sow, and the result is zero! ” And the thing is that parsnip seeds retain their germination for only one year, and their germination is a maximum of 50%.
© Magnus Manske
But if you were able to get parsnip seeds (they are light brown, round, flat, large, with a diameter of up to 5 mm), you need to know that this plant is biennial: in the first year you will get a root crop, and in the second year from this root crop - already their own reliable seeds.
To get the seeds of parsnip, leave a winter on a bed of 3-4 root crops. With the onset of heat, they will grow and will soon appear before you in the form of a luxurious tall bush. It is precisely because of this that I am replanting root crops in a place in the fall where they will not bother anyone or anything in the next season. In early June, the bushes will throw out umbrellas and bloom with small yellow flowers. After 3-4 weeks, the first seeds will appear. They ripen for a long time (up to 100 days) and at the same time. You need to collect seeds constantly, as they mature, shaking umbrellas so that they do not have time to crumble. Among the seeds are many empty, so they require careful selection.
There are varieties of parsnip with round and cone-shaped fruits. The most common varieties, the root crops of which are distinguished by good keeping quality, are Early Round, Student, White Stork, Best of All. You also need to know that varieties with a round root shape are less productive, but more early.
Of all root crops, this is the most cold-resistant crop. Therefore, sowing seeds can be carried out in early spring, as soon as the soil ripens. Since the seeds contain essential oil, they are tightly similar. And although experts advise soaking the seeds immediately before sowing for a day or two, you can get seedlings without soaking.
If you have a lot of land and the appetite for the parsnip is large, give it a fertile sunny area and sow with ribbons with a distance of 40–45 cm between them. On the 20th to 25th day the parsnip will sprout, and in the phase of 2-3 real leaves, thrive, leaving between plants 10-15 cm.
The first two months, parsnip grows very slowly and requires careful care. And care for it is the same as for carrots: timely watering, loosening, weeding and top dressing (just do not bring in fresh manure, the quality of root crops will decrease). There is a warning in the literature that in sunny weather parsnip leaves secrete a burning essential oil that can cause burns and allergies, and recommendations: wear gloves when taking care of the plant. And try to do all the work in the evening.
Parsnip rarely gets sick. But during flowering and ripening of seeds, he is often attacked by a carrot fly, moth, aphid and field bug.
We remove root crops in late autumn, as they gain their best qualities and high nutritional value if they remain in the ground until frost. Light frosts of the parsnip are not afraid, they only make it sweeter, tastier and more saturated with useful substances. For storage and consumption in winter, root crops are carefully scooped up, cut off foliage, slightly dried in the air and lowered into the basement, where they are stored in slightly damp sand.
Part of the crop can be left to winter directly in the ground. By the way, parsnip is not prone to the accumulation of nitrates. And in the spring, before the leaves grow back, root crops can be eaten. A whole vitamin pantry at hand - no spring vitamin deficiency!
In ancient times, light vegetable dishes were prepared from parsnip, they were included in the most exquisite menus for gala receptions. The Slavs approached this more pragmatically. In their kitchen, this plant became so valuable and important that borsch or soup was considered “empty” without it.
The mixture can be used to prepare meat sauces with tomato juice and onions. This sauce (you can even without tomato) is good for dressing first courses. Gourmets say that dried roots, ground in a coffee grinder, make excellent aromatic and healthy coffee. Parsnip also liked animals and birds, with its use, the quality and taste of milk are improved and meat.
Ate - wiser
The ancient Greeks attributed the parsnip to particularly valuable plants. Doctors advised to use it in case of loss of strength, spring ailments, after serious illnesses. And in the East, magicians and healers believed that one who eats a parsnip becomes smart, his heart is filled with kindness and tranquility, his life is lengthened, and his health is strengthened.
It has everything but hated calories
In folk medicine, it is believed that the use of parsnip improves metabolism. It is also useful for diabetes. Decoctions and infusions of root vegetables act as diuretics, antispasmodics, expectorants and painkillers. Leaves are used to treat skin diseases. Traditional medicine experts say that parsnip acts on the body like ginseng and green tea, it tones, invigorates and stimulates brain activity. Even those who want to lose weight can come to the aid of a parsnip.
Recognizes the healing properties of parsnip and official medicine. In the pharmaceutical industry, Beroxan, eupiglin for the treatment of vitiligo and baldness, and pastinacin, a vasodilator to prevent angina attacks, are prepared from the fruits.
Here he is, parsnip. Again and again you come to the conclusion that there are no unnecessary and unimportant vegetables. Each carries something necessary, important and different from the others. Ignoring vegetables and fruits means consciously condemning ourselves to illness. This is an invaluable gift of nature! They need to know, grow and use to appreciate. After all, the great connoisseur of cultural flora, academician Nikolai Vavilov, remarked: "How rich the plant world is, and how poorly we use it." So, there is something to think about for all of us!
© Olivier Pichard