The turnip, a root vegetable, was an important food in the Roman world, eventually spreading to China and into Japan by 700 AD.
Turnip greens are the clear favorite when it comes to nutritional value. The greens are an excellent source of vitamins K, A, C, and B complex, as well as the minerals calcium and manganese. They are a good source of magnesium and potassium. The turnip itself is a good source of vitamin C (particularly when eaten raw), potassium, and calcium. Cooking with Laura
Buying and Storing
When buying turnips, look for ones with their greens still attached for maximum freshness. Try to avoid mushy or yellowed greens when possible. Check for major soft spots on the root and if there are any, cut those off before storing at home.
To store, remove the greens and store turnips (unwashed) in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Turnip greens should be wrapped in a damp paper towel or placed in a plastic bag in the crisper/hydrator drawer of your refrigerator. Use the greens as soon as possible,preferably within a week.
Preparation: To clean turnips, use a stiff-bristled vegetable brush or the rough-side of a sponge. There’s no need to peel turnips, simply remove any damaged areas along with the top of the crown where the greens were attached and the tail part of the root. Rinse the greens under cold water or submerge them in a sink filled with cold water. To dry, shake them and lay them on paper towels or a dish towel, or use a salad spinner.
Turnip greens can be used in many of the same ways you would prepare rabe, spinach, or various other greens. The greens are great in salad mixes, added to stir-fry, added to soups, sautéd with a little olive oil, braised with root vegetables, or even lightly grilled.
Raw – slice raw turnips or cut the slices into sticks (often referred to a “match sticking”) and add to a veggie platter to accompany a spring herb dip.
Boil – cut turnips into ½- to 1-inch-thick slices or cubes and place in a pot of boiling water (preferably salted) for 8-10 minutes. Small whole turnips will take approximately 15-20 minutes to cook. Once turnips are fork tender, drain in a colander. Boiled turnips can be mashed, scalloped, or pureed.
Steam – cut turnips into ½- to 1-inch-thick slices or cubes and place in a pot with a steamer basket or rack above an inch of boiling water. Steam for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Small whole turnips will take about 20-25 minutes to cook.
Roasting – cut turnips into cubes, and toss in olive oil and herbs. Spread turnips onto a baking sheet in a single layer, and roast at 425°F for 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and toss as needed. Once the turnips are golden brown and fork tender, they are ready.