Where the ground freezes hard in winter, harvest parsnips before the freeze. Where the ground does not freeze, parsnips can be harvested from the garden as needed.
Parsnips are ready for lifting 100 to 120 days from seeding.
Harvest parsnips when roots reach full size, about 1½ to 2 inches (3-8 cm) in diameter and 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) long.
Parsnip roots are best lifted in late fall after they have been exposed to several moderate freezes.
Temperatures below °30F (-1°C) convert root starches to sugars giving parsnips a sweet, nut-like flavor.
Parsnips can be left in the garden and harvested through the winter, but after new growth begins in spring, the roots lose flavor and will become lean, limp, tough, and stringy.
Lift parsnips carefully; damaged and bruised roots do not store well.
Use a digging fork to loosen the soil around parsnip roots.
Lift roots carefully; damaged and bruised roots do not store well.
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