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I have some parsnips, and recipe for them which said to:

Wash and scrape parsnips, and cut into 2 inch strips. Place into 2 inches of boiling water, and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Drain, add butter, salt and pepper as desired.

By "scrape", does the author want me to just clean of most of the dirt / color with a brush, or should I just peel the parsnips? Also, should I retain the core of the parsnip?

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While I think that it is a good thing to clarify the term in a question, I doubt that your recipe will suffer, whatever method you use. Washing, scraping and peeling can be used interchangeably, depending on taste preference, skin thickness and dirt amount. –  rumtscho Apr 18 '12 at 17:14

3 Answers 3

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My grandmother scraped both her parsnips and her carrots. Basically you hold your knife perpendicular to the vegetable and drag it down the length. It's the same action as using a peeler. In fact, I usually just peel mine with a peeler. But scraping leaves a tiny bit more of the vegetable.

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This is what my mother does, but she does it with a finely toothed butter knife. It removes all the dirt and very little of the vegetable itself. Like using a brush, but more thorough. –  rumtscho Apr 18 '12 at 17:12

I generally peel parsnips like I would a carrot and then core them using this method:

After trimming the ends and peeling the parsnip, quarter it lengthwise. Hold a sharp paring >knife parallel to the cutting board and slowly run the knife between the core and the tender >outer part of the parsnip. The core curves with the shape of the parsnip, so you won’t be >able to get it all, but that’s fine—just remove as much as you can without sacrificing too >much of the tender part.

Before I knew better I would also just slice them like a carrot prior to boiling and mashing, and that works ok for smaller parsnips when the core isn't too tough/woody.

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You only really need to core older woody parsnips. In a kilo I might only cut out the core from the a handful, normally you can see some discolouration where they are woody. –  vwiggins Apr 18 '12 at 17:25

I use a vegetable peeler. I could use a knife, but I found I was losing a lot of parsnip that way. I also found that they really needed to lose that outer layer, texture wise, after washing and popping them in the pot one time. They were a bit... chewy.

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