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Parsley Root: Kitchen Basics

Parsley root with leaves
Parsley root with leaves
Parsley root with leaves

Parsley root can be steamed, boiled, puréed, or creamed. Use parsley root in braises, soups, stews, and vegetable mixes to add depth and aroma.

The flavor of parsley roots is somewhere between celeriac and carrot with hints of celery, turnip, and parsley leaf.

Parsley root works particularly well in combination with other roots and tubers such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, and onions.

Parsley root is also called Hamburg parsley, Dutch parsley, and turnip-rooted parsley.

Parsley root is harvested late summer to spring. A touch of frost will improve its sweetness and flavor.

How to Choose Parsley Root

  • Select parsley roots that are firm, creamy-beige, unblemished and about the same size. The best tasting roots will be small to medium-sized. Avoid withered roots.
  • Parsley root leaves should be feathery and bright green. Roots with leaves that are limp or wilted are not fresh. Do not trim off the leaves until you are ready to use the roots.

How to Store Parsley Root

  • Parsley root will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week if you first wrap it in a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag. The leaves will keep for just 1 or 2 days.
Parsley roots
Parsley roots

How to Prep Parsley Root

  • To prepare parsley root for cooking remove the leaves and fine roots and then gently scrub with a brush to remove any soil. The peel is tasty so don’t peel or scrape off the skin.
  • Trim off the greens, wash and dry them and reserve for used like regular parsley.

Parsley Root Serving Suggestions

  • Parsley root is most often eaten cooked, but it can also be eaten raw.
  • Small roots can be used raw whole, sliced, diced or shredded in a winter salad. Shredded parsley root and celeriac combine well for a raw salad. Sprinkle cut areas with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
  • Dried roots can be used as a flavoring: dry them on a shallow baking tray in an oven heated to 170°F (77°C); cool before storing in an airtight jar in a dark place.
Parsley root French fries
Parsley root French fries

Parsley Root Cooking Suggestions

  • Cook parsley root sliced or cubed like you would other roots such as turnips, parsnips, and carrots or like you would celeriac or asparagus.
  • Roast, sauté, fry, boil, steam, or add parsley root to soups and stews. Prepare parsley root by itself creamed, puréed or simply steamed or boiled and buttered.
  • Use one part boiled parsley root to 3 parts boiled potatoes and mash.

How to Steam Parsley Root

  1. Place a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket.
  2. Bring water a boil.
  3. Add 1 pound of prepped parsley root to steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat.
  4. Cook the parsley root until crisp-tender. Quater-inch slices will take 8 to 10 minutes. Quarter-inch strips will take 5 to 7 minutes.

How to Boil or Simmer Parsley Root

  1. Bring slightly salted water in a saucepan to a boil.
  2. Add 1 pound of parsley root; cook until crisp-tender. Quarter-inch slice will take 7 to 9 minutes. Strips will take 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Drain parsley root and season to taste with salt and pepper.

How to Purée Parsley Root

  1. Boil the parsley root as directed above.
  2. Drain the parsley root and put them through a blender, sieve, or food mill.
  3. Whip with butter and seasonings. for 2 pounds of parsley root whip with 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter. If the mixture is on the dry side, beat with boiling milk as well as butter.

Parsley Root Flavor Partners

  • Parsley root partners well with barley, beets, cabbage, chicken soup, horseradish, oxtail, root vegetables, shallots, sweet potato, and thyme.

Parsley Root Nutrition

  • Parsley root contains vitamin C and iron. It is high in sodium.

Parsley Root Health Note

  • The leaves and roots of wild parsley root resemble the leaves and roots of hemlock which is poisonous.
Parsley growing
Parsley growing alongside spinach

Get to Know Parsley Root

  • Parsley root can be eaten cooked or raw.
  • Parsley root is a biennial grown as an annual. Parsley root has a carrot-shaped, beige-white root.
  • Its tapering root resembles salsify or a small parsnip—the root growing about 6 inches (15 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. It is often double rooted.
  • Parsley root has large Italian parsley-like leaves—finely cut, flat, and dark green.
  • The leaves of parsley root are coarse-textured and can be used as a garnish.
  • It is most popular in central Europe—Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Germany—and in Russia and Holland. It is one of several vegetables and herbs known in Germany as suppengrun or soup greens which are combined with beef or poultry and boiled and used as soups and sauces.
  • Parsley root was first used for cooking in Germany in the sixteenth century. That is where it got the name Hamburg parsley.

The botanical name for parsley root is Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

Comments

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  1. I am interested in medieval, renaissance and tudor cooking, so trying parsley roots is fascinatin.g. My biennal ones are now as large as carrots and I will use them for pots and stews. This was a very informative article, thank you for the lavish information about the parsley roots! These days they seem to be quite forgotten, or underrated. Even if I do live in Europe.

    • Thanks for reading Harvest to Table. It’s good to know there are still parsley root growers out there. Happy Gardening!

  2. It is a very good article. I like and learn a lot from the knowledge of Parsley herb. I wish you well and enjoy writing.
    Gracia mucho Senor Steve Albert.

  3. I’m growing it in a large container this year. Want it for a special soup recipe but could never find it in stores or farmers’ markets. Is there a method for drying and preserving it for longer than it keeps fresh in the frig — a method that wouldn’t require buying a $5k+ home freeze-dryer?

    • You can blanch or puree parsley root. Blanch whole or cut roots in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes; lift and plunge the roots into cold water and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Then you can shred, slice, cut, or dice the root and freeze them in a freezer container or bag.

      • Thanks! I will do just that with my first biennial crop. I hope the roots are good the second year just before the plants go to seed..

  4. Very useful article – concise, informative & to the point! First came across root parsley in a market in Paris a couple of years ago. Grew it for the first time in my allotment this year & just lifted a nice looking root to try. Now I know what to do with it ?

    • Yes it is the same genus and species–Petroselinum Crispum. If you are growing for parsley roots (which add a parsely flavor to soups and stews) then try the variety Parsley Hamburg Rooted.

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