Parsnips

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Similar Varietal Characteristics

A requirement of Canada No. 1, Canada No. 1 Cut Crown and Canada No. 2 grades. Different varietal types may not be mixed.

Maturity

There is no maturity requirement in either grade but size, firmness and woodiness can be considered as part of the age or aging of parsnips.

Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2 grades both require parsnips to be "firm and not woody in texture". "Firm" with respect to Canada No. 1 grade means that the parsnips are unyielding to moderate pressure and are not soft, flabby, shrivelled, wilted or rubbery. "Firm" with respect to Canada No. 2 grade means that the parsnips are not soft, flabby, shrivelled, wilted or rubbery.

Parsnips that have been growing for a long time (large, coarse parsnips) may develop woody cores. In order to determine if a parsnip is woody, cut it at right angles to the longitudinal axis. If the core is woody to the extent that more force is required to cut it than the surrounding layer of flesh, score the parsnip as being woody in texture.

Trimming

Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2 grades do not permit trimming into the crown. In Canada No. 1 grade, there is the additional requirement that the length of the tops of  75% of the parsnips must not exceed 1/2 inch and the length of the tops of the remaining parsnips must not exceed 1 inch. With respect to Canada No. 2 grade, tops must not exceed 1 inch in length.

A special grade "Canada No. 1 - Cut Crowns" is provided for parsnips that have had all crowns or shoulders completely removed but that in all other respects meet the requirements of Canada No. 1 grade.

Smoothness

Canada No. 1 requires that the parsnips be "fairly smooth". This means that a parsnip may not be rough, ridged or covered with secondary rootlets to an extent which materially affects its appearance.

In Canada No. 2, a parsnip may not be rough, ridged or covered with secondary rootlets to an extent which seriously affects its appearance.

Secondary rootlets

Score as follows:

Canada No. 1
Free from secondary rootlets that materially affects the appearance. This means practically free from secondary rootlets. Allow up to 3 coarse rootlets not to exceed 1 inch (25.4 mm) in length.

Canada No. 2 
Free from secondary rootlets that seriously affects the appearance. Allow up to 6 coarse rootlets not to exceed 1 inch (25.4 mm) in length.

Shape

Less of a problem with parsnips than with carrots.

Canada No. 1
The parsnips cannot be turnip shaped or so forked or misshapen as to materially affect their appearance. Specimens may have a slight smooth curve or may be gently curved two ways in the same plane - but sharp curves, double corkscrew-like twists and curves with constrictions are scoreable.

Canada No. 2
The parsnips cannot be so badly forked or corkscrew shaped as to seriously affect their appearance. The parsnip can be curved but not so badly curved that there is a constriction which would cause a loss of more than 10% by weight.

NOTE: When a fork is removed from the parsnip, it should be treated as a cull.

Cleanliness

Canada No. 1
The parsnips must be "reasonably clean". This means that the individual specimen must be practically free from caked dirt, mould or decayed matter and must not have more than 15% of the surface in the aggregate covered by clinging dirt or staining. "Practically free" means 5% of the surface in the aggregate.

Canada No. 2
The parsnips must be clean enough so that the appearance or saleability is not seriously affected by dirt or staining. "Seriously affected" means that not more than 50% of the surface is affected, of which not more than 25% of the surface is caked dirt.

Parsnips may be marked as "Washed" if prior to being packed they have been washed and are "clean", meaning that there is practically no caked dirt. Cleanliness is shown on the certificate under the "Colour" heading, for example, "Characteristic, washed, clean".

For example: "Characteristic, reasonably clean" or "Characteristic, mostly clean, some dirty". In the latter case, the percentage of parsnips which have their appearance seriously affected by dirt or staining will be shown under the "Grade Defects" heading if the lot fails and a certificate is issued.

Properly Packed

A requirement of both grades and means that when packed in a package, the parsnips are not so packed as to be slack or overpressed or otherwise in a condition likely to result in damage during handling or while in transit.

Length

Canada No. 1
5 inches minimum - (127 mm)

Canada No. 2
4 inches minimum - (101.6 mm)

Diameter

Canada No. 1

  • 1 inch minimum - (25.4 mm) and 3 inches maximum (76.3 mm);
  • 1 3/4 inches minimum - (44.5 mm) or greater if packed in a package marked with the words "1 3/4 inches and up, 44.5 mm and up", or as the case may be, or 
  • 1 inch minimum - (25.4 mm) and; 
  • conforms to size range marked on the package in which they are packed, or 
  • are packed in a transparent package, or 
  • are in a bulk display in a retail store.  
  • when packed as prepackaged products, do not vary more than 1 1/2 inches (38.1 mm) in diameter.

Canada No. 2
1 inch minimum - (25.4 mm)

Broken Specimens

Broken specimens are allowed in both grades provided that the break is smooth, clean and not badly discoloured and provided that the broken specimen meets the minimum length and diameter requirements of the grade.

At destination, if pieces are found in the package, the broken specimens will be scored as condition; if not, score as a permanent defect.

Pithiness

Probably the result of unfavourable growing conditions or frost injury resulting in the texture of the roots being fibrous and spongy. In order to determine pithiness, the parsnips that show indications of sponginess should be cut or broken so that a cross section may be viewed.

As well as observing the crispness of the parsnip while cutting or breaking. Parsnips that are definitely spongy or porous should be scored against both grades.

Growth Cracks

Canada No. 1
Deep or rough growth cracks are scoreable. Growth cracks which are smooth and shallow and do not materially affect the appearance of the parsnip should be disregarded. Materially affecting the appearance means:

  • one crack exceeding 1/3 the length of the parsnip; 
  • more than one crack exceeding 1/2 the length of the parsnip in the aggregate; 
  • over 1/4 inch in width; 
  • over 1/4 inch in depth.

Canada No. 2
Parsnips which have several growth cracks or deep and long cracks sufficient to seriously affect the appearance should be scored.

Seriously affecting the appearance means:

  • one crack exceeding 1/2 the length of the parsnip; 
  • more than one crack exceeding 2/3 the length of the parsnip in the aggregate; 
  • over 1/4 inch in width; 
  • over 1/4 inch in depth.

Crown Damage by Mechanicals Means

Canada No. 1
Scoreable if:

  • exceeds 1/2 inch in depth, or 
  • has become noticeably discoloured, or 
  • affects an aggregate area exceeding 1/2 of the diameter of the parsnip.

This means that the top may be pulled out and that damage may extend 1/2 inch into the shoulder area provided that at least one-half of the crown area remains.

Canada No. 2
In this grade, parsnips may have crown damage to the extent that the appearance or saleability is not seriously affected. This will be judged by permitting to a greater degree the amount allowed in Canada No. 1.

Injury from Mechanical, Insects or other Sources

This includes cuts, bruises, etc., to other than the crown or shoulder areas of the parsnips.

Canada No. 1
Scoreable when:

  • the damage is more than 3/16 inch in depth, or 
  • noticeably discoloured, or 
  • affects an aggregate area exceeding one-half the diameter of the parsnip.

Canada No. 2
Is scoreable when the injury cannot be removed without a loss of more than 10% by weight of the parsnip.

Seed Stems

In both grades, score any visible seed stems.

Decay

A "free from" defect in both grades and any amount is scoreable. Decay is any soft, mushy breakdown. Leaky breakdown from freezing injury is also scored under the decay tolerance.

Freezing Injury and Frozen

Parsnips may be frozen with ice crystals in evidence, yet may thaw without any visible damage. If there is damage, it could result in the parsnips becoming split, flabby, watersoaked in appearance or showing fine radial cracks or even a watery breakdown (which, as mentioned above under "Decay", is scored under the decay tolerance). Because parsnips can take several degrees of frost and thaw without showing any deterioration, it is preferable for inspectors to assess the damage after complete thawing. If ice crystals were present at time of initial inspection, note this under "Remarks" on the certificate.

For example: "On March 24, 1978 temperatures were taken and samples set aside to allow freezing damage to become more evident. Ice crystals noted in most specimens in all bags". If no ice crystals are noted during initial inspection, no reference should be made to "damage" caused by freezing. In other words, simply describe the condition found.

Water-Soaked Areas

In the washing process, the skin may get bruised, scuffed or otherwise ruptured and these areas become water-soaked and eventually turn a dark grey to light black. When these areas dry out they may become spongy or corky. Likewise, freezing injury can rupture the skin and cause the same condition.

Canada No. 1
Score if damage exceeds 5% waste.

Canada No. 2
Score if damage exceeds 10% waste. Inspectors should be cautioned not to confuse this condition with decay.

Discolouration

Parsnips may vary in colour from white to creamy white but may become discoloured due to abrasion during handling and packing. Subsequent oxidation causes discolouration. In both grades, consider scoring the same as staining.

After washing, parsnips may be dull in appearance and may occasionally develop a beige to light tan discolouration.

Canada No. 1
Not more than 15% of the surface area darker than a light brown colour.

Canada No. 2
Not more than 50% of the surface area darker than a light brown colour.

Secondary Top Growth

This includes new top growth often found on parsnips that have been stored. In both grades, score the same as trimming.

Tolerances

An additional 5% for condition defects is provided for parsnips at destination, of this additional 5%, decay may not be more than an additional 2%.

Shipping Point

  • 4% undersize,
  • 8% oversize,
  • 2% decay,
  • 6% grade defects other than undersize and oversize but including 2% decay,
  • 10% of the packages, where the parsnips are packed as prepackaged products, may contain parsnips that exceed the permitted 1 1/2 inches - (38.1 mm) in diameter variation.

Destination

  • 4% undersize,
  • 8% oversize,
  • 4% decay,
  • 11% total defects other than undersize and oversize but including 4% decay. (Grade Defects other than size would be limited to 6%),
  • 10% of the packages, where the parsnips are packed as prepackaged products, may contain parsnips that exceed the permitted 1 1/2 inches - (38.1 mm) in diameter variation.
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