Turnips are a root vegetable related to radishes and mustards. They have a cylindrical, carrot or top-shape, with a flat top and a root that tapers to a point. Their skin is almost smooth and can be green, or white with green or purple bands at the top. In addition to an edible root, the leaves can be eaten as well. The inside flesh is white or yellow with a delicious, tender and sweet flavor.
BEST STORAGE PRACTICES:
Turnip roots and greens should be separated for storage. Store greens in a bag for up to 2 weeks in the veggie crisper (32 to 36 F). Roots can be stored in the crisper for up to several months.
FUN WAYS TO EAT AND COOK:
Remove the green tops and cook like spinach. The bulbs should be washed, peeled and chopped. Thinly sliced or grated, turnips are a delicious addition to salads. If small, it may be cooked whole with the skin left on.
Boil, bake, microwave or stir-fry until tender, about 6-10 minutes if chopped, 15-20 minutes if left whole. Add to casseroles, soufflés, soups or eat as a side!
Select a turnip that is firm, feels heavy for its size and has a sweet smell.
WHY IT’S GOOD TO EAT
- High in vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber (especially the leaves or ‘turnip tops’)
- Tops are rich in beta carotene, vitamin E and folate (one of the B vitamins)
- Good source of potassium
WHEN IT’S IN SEASON:
Turnips are cool season crops that can grow in the fall or spring. Best root growth occurs between 40 and 60 degrees F.
HOW IT’S HARVESTED:
Tops grow below the surface and the greens grow above ground. To harvest, pull the greens from gently loosened soil.
Turnip Tops with Bacon – Pan-fry several slices bacon until browned. Remove bacon pieces. Sauté washed and chopped turnip greens until tender. Return bacon and toss well.
Honeyed Turnip – Boil or microwave 1 cup diced turnips until tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and turnip. Cook until well coated. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives.