You will have heard the rumour that parsnips taste better after a frost. This is true: some of the starch is converted into sugar, which explains why parsnips are bland in summer and moreish in winter. As we rediscover the value of seasonal foods, we once again see the parsnip and leek as kitchen pleasures in the dark days. It pays to keep an eye on the ground conditions, as both are all but impossible to lift when the ground is frozen. The deep root comes out with a bit of fork-working, then grasp the crown, wiggle, and out she comes!

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