Hamburg parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum), also called "parsnip-rooted parsley" and "turnip-rooted parsley," is a variety of parsley grown for its crisp, white-fleshed, carrot-shaped root. It's very hardy and can be harvested, stored in a root cellar, and used in stews like any root vegetable. planting: Seeds are available from Burpee, William Dam, Farmer, Harris, Hudson, Johnny's, Jung, Nichols, Park, Stokes, etc. Hamburg grows fine in low-nitrogen soils, pH 6 to 7. In fact, excess nitrogen can cause it to make more top than root, so it shouldn't follow legumes. Don't add fresh manure during the growing season because that causes the root to fork in a bad way, although compost added the previous fall is a good thing. Hamburg can also handle an area of partial shade, such as under tall trees. Seed stays viable only about 3 years. When to Plant. In a short-season area, plant outside as early as possible—on the frostfree date. Or plant indoors in peat pots no more than 6 weeks before the frostfree date and transplant on that date. It won't transplant well if the roots have developed for more than 6 weeks or are disturbed too much during the process. If you have a very mild winter, you can plant in late fall for a spring crop. How to Plant. Plant presoaked seed about 2 per inch. Cover with lA inch dirt. You can make rows as close as a foot. Plant some radish seeds (about 1 every 3 inches) in the row to mark it for tilling since, like any parsley, it will take a month for the Hamburg to come up. Keep the seed row moist until the plants are up and well started. After that, expert gardeners put on a heavy mulch and don't water any more unless it gets radically dry. Thin first to an inch apart, later to 4 to 6 inches apart. Hamburg prefers cool weather, growing best in the 50-70°F temp range. Harvesting Greens: The top of the plant is true parsley. You can harvest and use Hamburg parsley greens just like any other parsley (see "Parsley" in Chapter 5). The problem is that if you cut off more than 1 or 2 stems per plant, you'll harm its root development. So the best way to harvest Hamburg parsley greens is to refrain from clipping them until you dig up the roots. At that time, harvest the greens too, and freeze or dry for flavoring or garnish. Harvesting Roots: For greatest growth of the root (they'll get as long as 6 to 8 inches or more), Hamburg parsley needs a long season—seeds planted in March will have finished roots in October or November. But you can harvest the root whenever you like. Roots 5 to 7 inches long are the most tender and sweet. The longer you wait to harvest, the bigger they get, but roots larger than that are not as nice. If you wait to harvest until after several fall frosts, the sugar content of the roots will be greater. Hamburg is very frost-resistant and is not killed by it, although it won't grow at low temps. If your area is mild, put a heavy mulch over the plants and leave them in the ground all winter to harvest as needed. (Hamburg is a biennial and will bolt to seed the second year, when temps get up to 75°F) Hamburg left in the ground will stay crisper than Hamburg in a root cellar, but if your ground freezes hard, dig up before that happens and store in a moist, cool (32-40T) place, as you would carrots. They can last as long as 4 to 5 months that way Using Hamburg Roots: Scrub well or precook. Peel to get rid of the hairy outer skin. But it's better to keep the peel on until after cooking; otherwise the roots discolor. Serve Hamburg roots raw in strips with any dip. Cooked Hamburg can be substituted in any parsnip or turnip recipe, although it has a milder flavor, more like celeriac, than those two. Add to stews and soups; it's good cooked together with roast beef.
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