Turnip

Turnips are versatile – treat them like potatoes or add to any favorite vegetable-based recipe.

Turnips are “root vegetables” in the mustard family. Prepare them the same way as potatoes (although they are dissimilar in taste), including grilling, roasting, boiling, mashing, and baking. Consume turnips raw in salads or sliced for dips and add to stews and stir-fries.

History

Long before potatoes became a worldwide crop, turnips (sometimes called “neeps”) were a year-round staple. While much less nutritious than spuds, they later became a chief replacement for hay as cattle feed.

Varieties

European and oriental species are easily grown and commonly produced for commercial sale in many countries. Turnips thrive in wet and cold growing conditions.

Color variations include purple fading to white along with those that have yellow and greenish skin. Interior flesh is white.

The term “turnip greens” refers to the upper part of a leaf turnip, which does not always develop an edible root when picked at an immature stage. These have long been a staple in the Southern U.S.

Buying Tips

The skin should be blemish-free and firm.

They’re available year-round, but crops will peak in the fall and immature varieties are best selected in the spring. Small, young turnips will have the best flavor.

When the leafy tops are attached, purchase only those that look fresh. Wash greens thoroughly for steaming, then add to meat dishes.

A waxy coating is sometimes applied to prevent moisture loss. Do not wash the turnip until ready to use.

Storage Tips

Raw turnips should remain fresh up to three weeks. Refrigerate in open or perforated plastic bags.

Boiled frozen turnips can be kept for several months.

Usage Tips

Give turnips a good scrubbing with a stiff vegetable brush to remove grit and any coating.

Peeling is a matter of preference for young turnips, but larger turnips should always be peeled. Slice off both ends before using.

Blanch larger bulbs to reduce the strong flavor.

Substitution Tips

Kohlrabi or rutabaga (also called yellow turnip).

Try one of our favorite turnip recipes:
Old-Fashioned Turnip Greens
Harvest Vegetable Soup
Grated Turnip and Apple Salad

by BigOven editorial team
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