Throughout the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about making the most of seasonal veggies. Today, I want to share some things I’ve learned about freezing one of our winter favorites: parsnips. These lovely roots can be tricky, but with a pinch of patience and a few easy steps, you’ll savor their sweet flavor all year round!
Blanching Parsnips in a Nutshell
- Select fresh, firm parsnips.
- Wash and peel them.
- Cut them into uniform pieces, depending on the size you prefer.
- Blanch the parsnips.
- Pack them in the freezer containers that you use.
- Label and store them correctly in the freezer.
Parsnips, with their sweet, nutty flavor, are a cold-weather delight. And just like our cherished memories, we’d love to keep them fresh. But how do we capture that essence for later months? The answer, my friends, is proper freezing!
Step-by-Step: Freezing Parsnips
1. Choose The Best
Choose fresh, firm parsnips with a creamy color and smooth skin. Avoid any with spots, blemishes, or shriveled ends; these show age or poor storage.
The medium-sized ones often have the best flavor and texture. Smaller ones can be sweeter, but the larger ones may have a woody core. Give them a little sniff! Fresh parsnips have a subtle earthy aroma.
Remember, the better the quality when they go into the freezer, the better they’ll be when they come out.
2. Washing & Peeling
Give the parsnips a gentle but thorough rinse under cold water. Use a soft brush to scrub away any stubborn soil. Once cleaned, pat them dry with a towel.
Peeling is next. Use a sharp vegetable peeler or knife and go in smooth, long strokes from top to bottom. If you spot tiny imperfections or blemishes, trim them off. Peel carefully so you only remove a thin layer, preserving all that parsnip goodness.
These simple steps ensure your frozen parsnips retain their garden-fresh goodness.
3. Sizing it Right
Cut your parsnips into uniform pieces, whether sliced, diced, or julienned. This ensures they freeze evenly and will cook uniformly later on.
4. The Blanching Magic
This is the secret step many miss out on! There is a trend today to freeze without blanching. But, blanching is critical to preserving the flavor, color, and nutritional value. Without this vital step, the frozen vegetables, after cooking, will taste like leftovers and not fresh and freshly cooked.
Here’s how you do it:
- Get out your freezer bags or wash your freezer boxes or other containers in hot, soapy water and dry well.
- Bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil and have a bowl of cool or cold water ready on the side.
- Drop your parsnip pieces into the boiling water. Bring them back to a full rolling boil and let them cook for 2 minutes. Setting a timer is the best way to get it right.
- Quickly transfer them to the cold water to halt the cooking process. Rinse them a couple of times and add ice to the final rinse water to cool them down completely.
- Either before you begin or while the vegetables are cooling, label your freezer containers with the contents and the date. It is better to prepare them before adding the vegetables when the containers will either be wet or cold, which makes the labeling process more difficult.
- Pack the parsnips into the containers you use for freezing and cover them with water. I often use the ice water they have been sitting in.
- Place the containers in the freezer as soon as possible, but be sure the vegetables are completely cool before putting them into the freezer.
Through years of freezing and canning, I’ve found blanching all vegetables, including parsnips, necessry to maintain their “just like fresh” flavor. Always use a large pot of water, so parsnips cook evenly. Uniform cuts ensure they all cook the same. I keep them in boiling water for just 2 minutes as the National Center For Home Food Preservation recommendsNational Center For Home Food Preservation. Too long, and they lose that sweet bite.
After boiling, cooling them down quickly is essential; this retains their fresh color and texture. This YouTube video walks you through the blanching process.
Pack them in freezer bags or boxes and cover the vegetables with cool or cold water.
6. Storing Them Correctly
This is more complex than you might think. But with years of veggie-preserving experience under my apron, I’m here to guide you through the process of ensuring your parsnips remain as delightful as the day they were frozen.
1. Label The Containers
To make looking for and finding the vegetables, or any food you have stored in your freezer, much easier, be sure to label the containers with the contents and the date. This step is better done before the blanching process or at least anytime before the food is placed in the container.
2. The Freezer’s Sweet Spot
Every freezer has that area where the temperature is the most consistent. For most home freezers, this is usually towards the back, away from the door. Positioning your parsnips in this area will shield them from temperature fluctuations, thus maintaining their texture and flavor.
3. Space Matters
Don’t just toss those bags or boxes in willy-nilly! Ensure there’s some space around each bag, at least initially. This promotes quick and even freezing, preventing any large ice crystals from forming within the container, which could affect their texture.
4. Stack Smartly
After the parsnips are fully frozen, feel free to rearrange and stack them neatly. Remember, though, heavy items can cause freezer burn on softer items below, so always be gentle and considerate in your stacking strategy.
5. Double Up for Extra Protection
If you use freezer bags and want to show your parsnips some love, consider using a double-bagging method. You can place your first bag of parsnips inside another freezer bag. This extra layer shields your precious veggies from potential freezer burn and any strong odors lurking in your freezer’s depths.
6. Regularly Check the Freezer’s Temperature
Aim to keep your freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. It may be wise to invest in a separate freezer thermometer. It’s a small tool that’ll ensure your parsnips (and everything else) remain in a deep freeze.
7. Rotate, Rotate, Rotate
Just like in your pantry, keep older batches toward the front or on top so you use them up first. This simple habit ensures you always consume the best quality produce and minimizes waste.
Pro Tip: Always be mindful of power outages. If your freezer has been off for an extended period, check on your parsnips. They can be safely refrozen if they’ve still got ice crystals and feel as cold as if they were in the fridge. If not, it might be time for a parsnip feast!
Quick Tips from Jelly Grandma’s Kitchen
- For The Best Flavor: Use frozen parsnips within 8-10 months. While they remain safe to eat beyond that, the flavor is most vibrant in the earlier months.
- Thawing Advice: When ready to use them, it’s often best to cook your parsnips straight from the freezer without thawing – this retains their perfect texture.
Savor the Season
Storing is more than just keeping things out of sight; it’s about preserving the love and effort you’ve put into preparing those items. Freezing parsnips, or any veggie, is like capturing the essence of the growing season in a bag. Each time you pull out those frozen delights, you’re treated to a burst of nature’s best, even months later.
So, don your apron, arm yourself with this guide, and give your parsnips the freezing treatment they truly deserve.
Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss The 14 Best Vegetables To Grow In Winter or Cold Weather.
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