I have made these low-sugar, whole-wheat muffins many times over the past couple of years for early morning breakfast picnics, as snacks to add to the kids lunchbox, and just because it seemed like a good day for a treat. They contain plenty of nutrients, and the sweetness is largely due to the addition of the raisins and parsnips, with little refined sugar added. Did I already mention that they freeze well?
Parsnips are a wonderful alternative to carrots, either cooked, raw and shredded in salads, roasted, or any other way you can think to use them. Carrot and parsnips are in fact in the same family Apiaceae, along with parsley, and are native to Eurasia. We know parsnips have been cultivated since antiquity, especially by the Greeks and Romans. However, our history is incomplete, since in ancient Greek and Roman texts carrots and parsnips are sometimes given the same name – pastinaca.
Parsnips were introduced to the North American continent by European settlers. Before the introduction of the potato, parsnips represented a dietary stable in Europe, along with the turnip. Interestingly, if parsnips – the root of which contains more starch than the carrot root – are left to overwinter in the ground, they convert their starches in to sugars, and as such, were also used as sugar substitutes before the introduction of sugar cane (Harold McGee).