Outwardly, parsnip resembles a white carrot which is a little wider at the top and narrows at the point. It has a distinct flavour all its own which some people find to be too overwhelming. The root is much sweeter than carrots if it is harvested after the first frost.
Parsnip has been cultivated since ancient times. The Romans grew it for food. Like any sweet vegetable, it has been fermented to make wine or beer. Settlers brought parsnip to America in the 1600s and the wild form is still prevalent today.
As many people don't like the pungent taste of parsnip, it is often used for adding a subtle flavour to stocks, soups and gravies. (Cook a whole parsnip in the stock and remove and discard at the end.) If you don't even like it that much, you can always feed it to your pigs and horses as it makes a good nutritious feed for livestock.