Parsnips Vs Carrots – What’s The Difference?

What’s The Difference Between Parsnips and Carrots?

The difference between carrots and parsnips, apart from the color difference and that they’re not from the same plant family. The main difference lies in their flavor, they’re both sweet, but parsnips have a sweeter taste than carrots.

As we learn to cook, we don’t often focus on more unconventional vegetables and fruits. Perhaps it’s because they’re more scarce or appear more difficult for a beginner cook. Novice cooks would not consider parsnips to substitute for carrots.

When we delve into the culinary art and begin searching for new ideas to increase the variety of our dishes, we start to see certain seasonal vegetables that seldom appear in traditional recipes.

Parsnips are a good example. They are seasonal root vegetables that closely resemble carrots but possess distinct characteristics.

Read on to find out everything you should learn about parsnips and carrots.

What Are Carrots?

Cooked or raw, roasted or stewed, carrots offer outstanding taste and nutritional benefits they also have medicinal and dietary benefits.

The roots of carrots date back to 5500 years ago. They were first discovered in Central Asia, somewhere around the region of Afghanistan, before they spread across the Mediterranean.

Initial carrots included white, pink, yellow, and purple. However, they also had green, purple, and black, not orange.

It wasn’t until the 1600s that Dutch gardeners could cultivate the popular orange carrots. These are now the most well-known carrots, followed by red and yellow types that are popular in Asian dishes.

Even though it is acknowledged that the growth of standard orange carrots removed a significant portion of nutrition value from dark carrots remain regarded as a “superfood” and bring numerous advantages to our lives.

Carrots possess an exciting mix of flavors that range from sweet to a bit better throughout the different components.

Overall, they are usually sweet, which is why they were commonly utilized as a sweetener before sugar made its way to the European continent.

Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots can be considered safe to eat, and we’re willing to suggest that you consider incorporating carrots into the diet if you haven’t yet.

However, some advantages are associated with eating carrots, which we think are significant to discuss. Be aware that there are many additional benefits that we have not listed, aside from the ones we have picked.

Improves Sight

The truth is that there is some truth to the old wisdom that says carrots are great for the eyes. Due to the abundant amount of beta-carotene in carrots, we can declare that this is among the wisdom pearls you should consider.

In this way, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A inside the liver. After that, Vitamin A is further transformed into rhodopsin inside the retina, a pure pigment essential for night vision.

It has also been demonstrated that beta-carotene prevents degeneration of macula and chenille.

Reduces The Risk of Certain Types of Cancer

Scientists have discovered that regular consumption of carrots results in a lower risk of developing various types of cancers like breast, lung, and liver cancer.

Again, this is because of the high levels of beta-carotene and fibers present in carrots.

Powerful Antioxidant

Antioxidants help prevent cell destruction caused by the body’s oxidative process.

Carrots are rich in antioxidants. Each has its special protection role.

Beta-carotene is the most well-known antioxidant found in carrots with orange skins. Other antioxidants found in carrots include alpha-carotene caffeic acid, lutein ferulic acid, coumaric acid, and anthocyanidins.

So, whichever type of carrot you select will give your body an abundance of antioxidants.

Healthy Heart

According to research studies, frequent consumption of carrots could lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Also, it is known that the same consumption can lower cholesterol levels and directly contribute to preventing a variety of heart-related diseases.

How To Choose and Store Carrots

When selecting carrots, bear in mind that the roots should be smooth, hard, relatively clean, and vibrantly colored. The more intense the orange hue is of the root, the more the beta carotene level.

Carrots that are cracked or soft are not recommended. If carrots are served with no green tips, the color near the bottom of the tree is indicative of their age. Carrots with fuzzy colors are not recommended.

Since sugars are concentrated within the cores of carrots, typically, those with a greater diameter possess a larger core and taste sweeter.

To ensure the quality of fresh carrots, it is essential to limit the loss of moisture. This is why it is necessary to place them in the coldest portion of the refrigerator, either in a plastic bag or in a towel that will help lessen the chance of condensation.

The carrots will remain fresh for approximately two weeks. It is also recommended to keep them away from pears, apples, potatoes, and other vegetables and fruits that release ethylene gas since it makes them taste bitter.

What Are Parsnips?

Parsnips are an essential part of the fall-winter vegetable market; however, those who don’t know what they’re lacking are often ignored. They are often described as great turnings, odd-looking carrots, and others.

In contrast, parsnip is an old plant that has been grown for generations due to its nutritional value and health benefits.

It is hard to determine precisely where parsnips came from, but they have been around since antiquity. What is known is that it has European origin.

Before Europeans discovered potatoes’ existence, most vegetable dishes were prepared using parsnips. In certain countries, parsnips remain a food that is considered a symbol of tradition: in England, for instance, it must be served at the table at Christmas.

Regarding taste, parsnip has an appealing sweet flavor. It is believed that if you leave it to winter in the ground and harvest it in spring, the sugar content will be more prominent.

So, if we decide to create a generalized characteristic of parsnips, it might appear like this: The sweet and delicious roots that look like carrots but are more delicate and subtle.

Health Benefits of Parsnips

The following benefits provide an overview of the influence that parsnips could be a part of our lives. There are many other positives known that could require pages and pages to discuss the benefits. We’ve selected a few that stand out.

Increases Heart Health

How to maintain your heart healthily is the main subject of debate.

Although it is evident that vegetables and fruits are essential to a healthy diet, parsnips provide more impact than you usually think. Due to its potassium-rich content, it reduces blood pressure and reduces the heart’s stress.

The high concentrations of Folic acid in parsnips make them an excellent source of vitamin C since they reduce the amount of homocysteine found in blood, associated with a greater chance of suffering from heart disease.

Decreases Cholesterol and Diabetes

The substantial amount of insoluble fiber in parsnips makes it ideal for helping prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Its usage as a salad ingredient and puree was proven to lower blood cholesterol levels. Additionally, it’s an appropriate food for people with diabetes because it is rich in healthy natural fructose and sucrose.

Growth and Development

Although the protein content in parsnips may not be impressively large, the spectrum of vitamins and minerals in parsnips means that they are a fantastic food or supplement to your diet.

It is a great way to balance eating habits that are inconsistent or marked by nutritional deficiency. Like carrots, which are fantastic to snack on in between meals, parsnips can also be an excellent choice for healthy eating, unlike potatoes and junk food chips.

Supports The Immune System

Parsnips are a rich source of antioxidant organic compounds and vitamins which protect against invading bacteria and other pathogens just as they shield us from harmful by-products.

Vitamins E and C work as antioxidants within the body and neutralize or eliminate free radicals, which can trigger cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Vitamin C is also a stimulator in the formation of white blood cells that combat external microbes and illnesses which have entered the body. Vitamin C is also an essential element in creating collagen, which is the main component of the human body.

Weight Loss

For a low-calorie, high-soluble fiber source, parsnips are satisfying and stop craving hormones. This will significantly decrease the possibility of eating between meals and aid in achieving the desired weight loss.

Furthermore, the optimal digestive process assists in eliminating feces and keeping your nutritional intake at its maximum so that you take the best nutrients from your food.

How To Choose and Store Parsnips

Parsnips can be found from September to March, making them the ideal winter food. Choose smaller or medium roots since the larger ones are too fibrous. Select hard parsnips and steer clear of ones with traces of brown spots and wrinkles that look atypical.

Keep in the refrigerator without washing and sealed in a plastic bag. Like potatoes, parsnips can be stored in a dark, dry area away from direct sunlight. Parsnips are usually stored in the refrigerator for no longer than one month.

Nutritional Differences Between Parsnips and Carrots

The information contained in the nutritional chart was compiled from 100 grams of carrots and parsnips. How much daily consumption of nutrients these percents are based on the 2000 calories of a typical diet.

per 100gParsnipsCarrots
Grams/MgDaily Value %Grams/MgThe % Value of the Day
Total Carbohydrate17g6%8.2g3%
Dietary Fiber3.6g14%3g12%
Vitamin A0%341%
Vitamin C22%6%

As you can observe, the parsnips and carrots are nearly identical in nutritional value. The main distinctions can be observed in the opposite abundance of Vitamins A and C in both vegetables and the higher amount of sodium found in carrots.

Interesting Facts & Questions

Can You Substitute Carrots With Parsnips?

The majority of people use these two veggies in many different recipes. In many situations, you can use carrots in place of parsnips for those who want a more mild or naturally sweet flavor.

If you browse for recipes for parsnips online, you will discover plenty of recipes that recommend mixing the two vegetables. In countries where parsnips are a more prominent ingredient in local cuisine, there are a lot of salads and dishes that incorporate both.

Also, it is possible to swap carrots for parsnips and reverse the process and mix them.

If you’re looking to maximize the benefits of both of them, we recommend keeping them apart to ensure they get the full flavor potential.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

Exclusive Coupons & Discounts and Yummy Recipes!

Sign up to our free newsletter!