Turnips: Everything You Should Know

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These creamy white vegetables with a purple top, commonly known as turnips, are a European staple food.

It resembles potato and beetroot; however, it is a member of the family Brassicaceae, commonly known as the Mustard family.

Let’s dive in to know all you need to know about turnips.

History of Turnips

The mustard family has members like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale in it as well.

Turnips have been known for 4000 years. They originated in Eastern and Middle Asia and later widely spread worldwide.

Now, these are widely cultivated and eaten in temperate zones of the world.

Turnip Varieties

Turnips are usually two-tone colors, the creamy-white bottom with a purple top.

However, they come in various other colors and sizes as well. The most common colors are white, green, pinkish purple, and heirloom amber.

Some of the most common and widely grown turnip varieties are as follows:

  • Scarlet Queen Turnips
  • Baby Bunch Turnips
  • Purple White Globe Turnips
  • Gold Ball Turnip
  • White Lady Turnip
  • Tokyo Cross Turnip
  • White Egg Turnip
  • Royal Crown Turnip
  • Orange Jelly Turnip
  • Top Star Turnip
Harvested fresh organic small turnip vegetable

What Do Turnips Taste Like?

You will find slight spiciness in young fresh turnips, a taste somewhere between potato and radish.

However, the older mature ones sometimes have a mustard taste and spice it up with a strong flavor like ginger when cooking.

The mild spiciness of turnips goes away when cooked, and the bitter or slightly spicy taste is predominant in the fresh young turnips.

However, the mature turnips taste similar to potatoes, simply sweet.

Turnip Nutrition Facts

Are you wondering about the nutritional benefits of turnips? You will be shocked to know that turnips are rich in fiber and vitamins.

Not only this, but this veggie is also loaded with minerals like Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.

Turnips are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. The best thing is turnips are low in calories as they are mainly fiber and water.

Turnips offer a wide range of health benefits as well.

Health Benefits of Turnips

A balanced diet is pivotal to active living. Adding fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of various adverse health disorders.

Regular consumption of turnips has undeniable positive effects on human health.

Eating fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of diseases like cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

They are also helpful in reducing the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and overall mortality rate.

Do you know that high fiber foods like turnip help reduce the prevalence of diverticulitis flares?

As turnips make bowel movements easier by absorbing water in the colon, they are also helpful in lowering blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

Folic acid and iron are needed in early pregnancy, and green vegetables promote iron uptake. Turnips are also a rich source of iron and folic acid.

bunch of turnips close up

Growing Season of Turnips

You can find this fresh vegetable throughout the year. However, if you are looking for the best yield, wait for fall because it is the time when turnips are freshly matured.

You can still find these in spring, but spring turnips are usually sweet and petite. The mature larger ones have tough skin and a strong flavor; you can use them for soups and stews.

You will enjoy this tasty vegetable throughout the winter season. Moreover, turnips are readily available, inexpensive, and handy.

How to Cook Turnips?

You don’t necessarily need to always cook them before you eat. Turnips can be consumed raw.

If you think of making something delicious from turnips, there are several ways. You can add these to your salads as turnips give your salads an extra tangy and crisp flavor.

Another great option is to slice them and use them as a dressing simply. Peel the turnips if the outer skin is thick.

You can mash, bake, or roast turnips according to your flavor. You can even make Turnip french fries from these, and they will undoubtedly serve as the healthiest alternative to french potato fries.

Still, if you cannot find any good ideas or recipes that you can try with these, here is an idea.

Think of potatoes, and you can try all those recipes for turnip as well, and you can even make a blend of another root vegetable with it.

A bonus tip is if you boil both potato and turnip together, the bitterness of the turnip goes away.

What to Look for When Buying Turnips?

If you are going to buy groceries and thinking of buying turnips, what should you look for while buying the turnips?

The standard rule is to go for healthy, crispy, and blemish-free veggies.

If you find them loose or rubbery by holding them in your hands, they are not of good quality.

The tops of young spring turnips should be fresh, green, and bright. However, the tops of mature fall turnips can be woody and bitter.

Always search for bright-colored turnips with healthy bulbs. The tiny baby turnips are primarily white, just like spring radish.

The freshly harvested ones are the best. Do you know what the best part is? You can find them in most supermarkets and food stores very efficiently.

Harvested fresh organic small turnip vegetable

When to Plant Turnips?

If you plan for the late spring harvest, you should sow the seeds about 14-21 days before last spring frost.

However, sow the seeds in late spring or early autumn for the autumn harvest.

How to Plant Turnips?

If you are thinking of planting turnips in your kitchen garden, here is a quick guide for you to follow.

Mix some organic fertilizer into the soil to increase the fertility of the land. Don’t over-fertilize the soil as an excess of anything is good for nothing.

You will need to seed directly into the soil. Keep a check on watering the plants and water your seedlings consistently.

How to Store Turnips?

When you get fresh turnips home, remove their green leaves as soon as possible. This is because if you keep them as it is, they will take nutrition from the root of the turnip.

However, you don’t necessarily need to waste these green leaves. The leaves can separately be used in cooking if you want.

To clean the turnips, rinse them well and use a vegetable wash if you like. Store them by wrapping them in a plastic bag.

Make sure to provide a dark, dry but cool environment for storage purposes, and they will stay fresh for a long time. You can keep them in the fridge or even in a kitchen cellar.

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