As we turn the corner into March, some of us are hoping for signs of Spring. But, according to Punxsutawney Phil, we are in for a longer Winter this year! Whether or not you are a snow-bunny by nature, I encourage you to rejoice in this news because it gives us more time to celebrate, the often forgotten winter vegetables, like TURNIPS!
Never heard of turnips? Not sure what they look like? No idea what to do with them even if you could find them in the grocery store? You’re not alone! And it’s time to learn!
We often just see the root bulb of the turnip at the store, but if you ever shop your local farmer’s market or farm stand, you’ll probably see their beautiful green tops still attached. There are turnip recipes featuring the greens, as well as the bulb.
Generously, this cruciferous vegetable offers both parts as a nutritious and delicious ingredient, and I highly encourage you to use them both if given the option!
The bulb provides vitamin C (eating one medium turnip gives you about 54% of your daily vitamin C needs) and many B vitamins, while the leaves are a good source of vitamin A, C and K, folate, and calcium. Turnips also provide phytonutrients called indoles, which may help reduce your risk of certain cancers.
Turnip bulbs can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, sautéed or mashed and the leaves are often used in sautés or soups. When selecting turnips for turnip recipes, look for bulbs that are firm, unwrinkled and contain a low blemish profile. Large bulbs have a tendency to be woody, so I always try to pick out smaller roots if I can. If the leaves are attached, cut them off at home and store them separately. Each part can be placed in a plastic bag and kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator for one to two weeks.
Here are a few of our family’s favorite turnip recipes:
Next time you are at the market and you pass by these white and purple sphere’s of intimidation, I hope you take a step back and give our friend, the turnip, a chance!