December 30 and 31 were unseasonably warm days, during which all of the snow melted and the ground thawed enough that on January 1, Sparks officially dug our first harvest of 2011: the parsnips.
There is a lot of conflicting information about when to dig parsnips. They take 120-180 days, and ours had had at least that (probably more). Cold weather makes them sweeter. Some people say to dig them just before the ground freezes, and some say to leave them till spring. I guess we split the difference.
Compared to the gnarled monsters Sparks dug in October, these are picture-perfect parsnips. In the raw they had some sweetness, but fried till brown and salted–oh my goodness. They were like the best tostones you’ve ever had, only better. Sort of what tostones want to be when they grow up.
Grow parsnips, my friends. They’re expensive in the stores, low-maintenance to grow and DELICIOUS.