Should the cores of large parsnips always be removed and discarded before cooking?
The core of a parsnip is leathery, but we found a way to lessen its impact in our Roasted Root Vegetables recipe (see related content): cutting the parsnips on the bias into oblong disks before roasting, which shortens their tough center fibers and makes them less noticeable. To find out if the cores should be removed when the parsnips are pureed, we compared cored versus uncored samples in a simple pureed soup. Tasters found the flavor of the cored sample only marginally preferable to the flavor of the uncored batch; some found that the cores contributed a slightly bitter flavor. When it came to texture, however, there was no difference: The cores weren’t noticeable in the soup.
The takeaway? For pureed applications, don’t bother coring parsnips. If you plan to serve parsnips whole and don’t want to cut them on the bias, they’re much more pleasant to eat if you remove the tough, chewy cores before cooking.
HARD CORE: Tough parsnip cores should be removed before roasting but aren’t noticeable in pureed applications.