Popular English vegetable since the middle ages, but originating in the Mediterranean during the Roman period. Parsnips are cooked like carrots and have a sweet pleasant taste. CULTURE: See Carrots. Parsnip requires a long growing season. Cover and keep moist. Parsnips are slow germinators. TIP: Quality is enhanced by cooler growing temperatures in late summer. Best root quality is obtained after a few nights of frosts.