Turnips are somewhat of a mystery. Often confused with rutabaga, beets, and radishes, this root vegetable deserves its time to shine. Turnips are harvested from June through October, so now is the perfect time to learn about turnips and try them in some new recipes.
Turnips (brassica rapa) are biennials, often grown as annuals. They can be planted in early spring and can take as few as six weeks to grow. Turnips planted mid-summer and harvested in the fall will tend to be sweeter if they are exposed to some light frost, but if they are left in the ground too late into fall, the hard freezes may damage the crop. Turnips should be planted in a sunny spot, in loose soil. They are sometimes harvested for, or with, their green tops, which are most similar to mustard greens in taste and preparation method. After they are harvested, turnips should be stored in a cool location, with their greens removed, for varying amounts of time depending on the type of turnip. Some common types of turnips are Hakurei turnips, a mild salad variety (carried by Siena Farms), and purple-top turnips, which taste better cooked (found at Stillman’s Farm).
Stillman’s Farm recommends preparing purple-top turnips by roasting them (like they do in this veggie medley of theirs), mashing them, or adding them to soup. If you’re eating the purple-top turnips raw, our resident turnip experts at Stillman’s say it’s not necessary to peel the skins off, unless the skin is particularly tough. Just make sure to trim the tops and the roots, and to rinse or scrub the turnips clean before eating. Siena Farms suggests eating their Hakurei turnips raw, or sautéing them in sesame oil or butter.
Still not convinced? We’ve got some more ideas for how you can prepare your turnips; if these creative recipes don’t inspire you to get cooking, nothing will!
- Food Network’s quick & easy pickled turnips recipe
- Food Network’s buttery turnip puree, which makes for a great side at any summer cookout
- Inspiralized’s garlic mushroom and leek turnip noodles, using this awesome spiralizing technique