Hamburg parsley, sometimes known as turnip rooted parsley or parsnip rooted parsley is a real novelty in the UK which you are unlikely to be able to try unless you grow your own although it is much more popular in (obviously) Germany but also other parts of Europe.
When growing, the leaves look, taste and smell very like parsley and can be used in salads and sauces just where you would use parsley. It is the roots however that are the hidden gem. The best way to describe them is having a flavour like the best sweetest parsnip you could imagine with a slug of parsley, a really interesting, complex flavour. If you have an allotment or patch of land to grow then please give this a go.
In the kitchen
Use the shoots where you would use parsley but don’t take too much others the roots will not be able to bulk up. From September you can start to harvest the roots. Use these where you would use parsnips, they are absolutely delicious roasted.
Yield and plant health
For those who are used to growing parsnips you might find the yield a little disappointing as you will probably need 2 roots per person to make a decent side dish, whereas a parsnip will serve at least one person if not many more. However for this think quality not quantity. As a bonus you don’t just get the one vegetable. As you can use the greens in place of normal parsley if you are growing enough of them then there is no need to grow parsley as well.
The variety I bought was Kinga from Mr Fothergills but you are unlikely to see more than one variety listed in a UK catalogue.
How to grow
Hamburg parsley should be treated in a similar way to parsnips and has a similar growing period.
Sow in March/April in a sunny position with light stone free soil which has not been manured recently.
Sow three seeds together, 1.5 cm deep together, 15 cm apart in rows 30cm apart. You can sow raddish in the gaps which will help mark the row and enable you to remove weeds easily. Keep soil moist, especially if we have a hot dry spring. It can take at least 20 days to germinate. When seedlings have their first true leaves, thin to one per station.
Keep soil moist until you see the shoots coming up through the soil. Water well once a week to keep the soil moist which will prevent splitting.
Weed carefully around the plants until they are established at which point their foliage should keep weeds down.
Parsnip White Gem