- When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown parsnips for the best quality and nutritional value.
- Know when fresh parsnips are available in your state with this seasonal food guide.
- If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning.
- Select vegetables at peak quality and flavor. Do not use vegetables that show signs of decay, mold, or bruising. These defects may affect all pieces being dried.
- 15 pounds of parsnips will yield 1 1/4 pounds of dried parsnips (appx 2-4 pints).
- Ice is needed for cooling the parsnips following blanching
- Citric acid is recommended as an anti-darkening and anti-microbial agent (optional)
- Clean, food-grade dehydrator or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
- Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
- Conditioning containers
- Large, clean plastic or glass container with lid
- Storage containers
- Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
- Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
- Metal blanching basket, cheesecloth or mesh bag (for blanching vegetables prior to drying)
- Collander (for draining cleaned produce)
- Large bowl (for cooling blanched vegetables in ice water)
- Large covered cooking pot (for blanching)
- Hot pads
- Cutting board
- Timer or clock
3. Ingredient Preparation
Pre-treating vegetables by blanching is recommended to enhance quality and safety. Blanching improves color and texture, relaxes tissues so pieces dry faster, reduces the time needed to rehydrate vegetables, and helps to destroy potentially harmful bacteria.
- Thoroughly wash parsnips.
- Cut off roots and tops; peel.
- Cut into slices or strips 1/8” thick.
- Fill large cooking pot with 1 gallon of water and bring to a rolling boil.
- To prepare the citric acid water, stir 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) of citric acid into one quart (approximately one liter) of water.
- Put no more than four cups of the vegetable pieces in a blanching basket, or a piece of cheesecloth or cloth mesh bag with ends secured.
- Lower vegetable bag into boiling water, making sure water covers the vegetables.
- Shake bag or basket so hot water reaches all pieces, if necessary.
- Blanch for time needed at your elevation:
Blanching Time for Drying
|Below 5,000 ft.
||5,000 ft. and above
|3 1/2-4 1/2 minutes
||4 1/2-5 1/2 minutes
- Start timing as soon as water returns to a boil.
- Adjust heat to ensure continuous boiling.
- Remove vegetables from boiling water and submerge briefly in a large bowl of ice, only long enough to stop the cooking action.
- NOTE: Do not cool to room temperature.
- Drain on paper towel or cloth.
- Repeat process until entire batch is blanched and cooled.
- Arrange blanched parsnips in single layers on drying trays.
- Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator.
- If necessary, turn large pieces over every 3 to 4 hours during the drying period.
- Vegetables can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
- Total Drying Time: 10-12 hours in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven)
- Dried parsnips should be tough to brittle.
- Condition parsnips by placing cooled, dried vegetables loosely in large plastic or glass containers, about two-thirds full.
- Lightly cover and store in a dry, well-ventilated place for four to 10 days.
- Stir or shake containers daily to separate pieces.
- NOTE: If beads of moisture form inside the container return parsnips to drying trays for further drying, then repeat the conditioning step.
- Store small amounts of conditioned dried vegetables in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
- Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Properly stored, dried vegetables keep well for six to 12 months.
- Discard foods that have off odors or show signs of mold.
7. Using Dried Vegetables
- Dried vegetables can be eaten ‘as is’ as a snack or part of a meal.
- Adding dried vegetables directly to soups and stews is the simplest way to rehydrate vegetables.