Turnips are a member of the brassica family (which includes kale, cabbage, Brussels sprout, and broccoli, among others), and have been considered a reliable storage crop for centuries. Turnips have a sharp and sweet flavor, and provide a good source of vitamin C (especially when eaten raw), potassium, and calcium. Turnip greens are also edible and very healthy, and are great sources of vitamins A, C, and B complex, as well as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Turnips are also believed to be one of the cruciferous vegetables that help prevent cancer.
Turnips store in the refrigerator (unwashed, in a plastic bag) for 1-2 weeks. Turnip greens should be stored separately, in the hydrator drawer of the fridge, and should be used as soon as possible. To store turnips long-term, they can be packed in wet sand and kept in a cool (but not freezing) spot.
Clean turnips by scrubbing with a vegetable brush. They do not need to be peeled, but any damaged areas can be cut away.
Turnips can be eaten raw. Cut into sticks and eat with a dip, or grate into a salad or slaw.
Turnips can be:
- Boiled: 8-10 minutes for ½-1 inch thick slices or cubes, or 15-20 minutes for small whole turnips.
- Steamed: 12-15 minutes for ½-1 inch thick slices or cubes, or 20-25 minutes for small whole turnips.
- Baked: Baste with olive oil or butter, and bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes. Turnips can be baked alone, or in combination with other root vegetables.
Turnips are also great alongside roasting meats, diced or cubed into soups or stews, sliced thinly in sautés, or mashed or scalloped like potatoes.
Mashed Turnips with Cream and Crispy Shallots
1 ½ - 2 lb. turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 T butter, divided
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (or substitute sweet red onion)
½ cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1-3 tsp. minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Place chopped turnips in large pot of cold water. Bring to boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and puree turnips in a food processor (or mash them with a hand-held masher). Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet over medium flame, add shallots, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove shallots from skillet and drain them on paper towels. Combine the cream and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; bring to a simmer and stir into the pureed turnips. Season with nutmeg; add salt and pepper to taste. Place in a serving dish, garnish with shallots and parsley, and serve immediately. This recipe is adapted from one by a chef at Union Square Café in Manhattan. Makes 6-8 servings. (Recipe contributed by Molly Bartlett, Silver Creek Farm, in From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce (Third Edition).)
Roasted Turnips with Balsamic Vinegar
2 large turnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (+ additional 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar for finishing)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F. Peel turnips with a knife, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss with turnips; spread in single layer on a pan. Roast turnips for 30-40 minutes, or until slightly browned and softened. Remove turnips from oven and place into serving bowl. Toss with an additional teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve. (Original recipe here.)