What Do Turnips Taste Like?

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There is no getting around the fact that turnips have never been among the most popular vegetables. As a result, many people try to steer clear of turnips whenever they see them in the produce section of the supermarket.

In this article, we discuss the flavor of turnips, the history of the turnip, including why it was frequently associated with poverty, and we provide some simple and quick ideas for how you can prepare some delicious meals with turnips. In addition to discussing the flavor of turnips, this article also discusses the history of the turnip.

Although turnips look like rutabagas and, in fact, the two are frequently confused with one another, turnips are significantly smaller and have a flavor that is more similar to a cross between cabbage and radish. Turnips have a flavor that is sweet and slightly peppery, and their interiors are crisp and white. The flavor will change, depending not only on the kind of turnip, but also on how old it is and how long it has been stored.

Young turnips, also known as baby turnips, are typically soft, sweet, and crunchy. However, there are certain types of turnips that have a more sour taste to them. Raw or cooked, baby turnips are excellent in any form.

Because older turnips get woodier and their taste increases hotter as they age, these turnips should always be cooked. The flavor becomes hotter as the turnips mature. They have a highly harsh taste when eaten raw, but after being cooked, they become sweet and are suitable for consumption. Turnips are a crop that produces no waste since both their roots and their leaves or greens may be consumed.

Because of their similarity in consistency to potatoes, turnips make an excellent potato substitute. When compared to the same quantity of raw turnip, one cup of raw potato includes around 22 grams of carbohydrates and just 2 grams of fiber, while the same amount of raw turnip contains only 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Turnips are not only more nutrient dense than potatoes, but they can also readily substitute potatoes in meals such as gratins and mashes. In fact, turnips may even be twice baked or prepared in the same manner as fries. However, turnips may not always taste their finest after being reheated, so you may want to consider just preparing enough for one dinner and then preparing new turnips for the next day’s lunch.

How to Select and Store Turnips

When selecting turnips, seek for ones that are on the smaller side; ideally, they should not be any larger than a tennis ball. If they are larger than this, they will have a flavor that is more astringent. If there is a purple crown—that section of the plant that was above ground and exposed to sunlight—then this portion of the plant ought to have a strong shade of purple. They should have a smooth surface and have a substantial weight when held in the hand. If they have a lesser weight, then you may expect them to be made of wood. To get enough turnips to feed four people, you should plan to spend around two pounds.

In the event that you have never purchased turnips previously, it is vital that you differentiate them from rutabagas. The bottoms of these considerably bigger veggies are filthy white, while the tops range in color from deep purple to waxy white. Additionally, the flavor of their yellow flesh is considerably more pronounced than that of turnips!

If the turnips are classified as No. 1 by the USDA, this indicates that they are relatively clean, relatively firm, relatively nicely shaped and smooth, and free from a variety of sorts of damage. The tops, or the tops that have been cut, won’t have any damage or rotting either. No. 2: The turnips will not have soft rot, substantial misshaping, or any other form of severe damage. They will still be solid.

If you are in the fortunate position of being able to purchase your turnips with the greens still connected, you should wait until you get home to separate them. Both the turnips and the greens may be stored in the refrigerator, but the greens have to be consumed within the next few of days so that they can maintain their level of freshness. In any other case, the turnips should be able to remain fresh in the refrigerator for around two weeks.

Turnips should be able to be kept for up to five months if they are stored in a place that is cold, dark, and in which they do not come into contact with one another. One example of such a location is a root cellar.

Additionally, turnips may be frozen without losing their quality. They need to be blanched in water that has been brought to a boil for two to three minutes, and then cooled completely in water that has been chilled, so that the enzymes in the turnips do not break down the flesh. After being drained, you may either store them in a vacuum-sealed bag or a Ziploc bag with the air pressed out of it. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can also use that. The storage life of turnips in the freezer is at least six months.

Even if you want to peel your turnips before using them, you should still wash them well before doing so. Even while the peel is edible in its whole, it is recommended to remove it from older turnips since it tends to have a more bitter flavor. They may be prepared and peeled in the same manner as potatoes, which is to say in the exact same method.

Turnips in History

It is believed that the turnip originated in central Asia approximately 4,000 years ago. It is also possible that the turnip was one of the earliest vegetables to be farmed. Turnips made its way to European nations and were once a staple food for the Roman army. Despite this, turnips were never popular with the Romans; in fact, they were the vegetable of choice to hurl at undesirable public figures.

In Europe around the fourteenth century, the phrase “turnip eater” was a pejorative label for someone from the country. Even later than that, the word “turnip” was used as a synonym for foolish or something similar. In the early 1600s, people in the United States began cultivating turnips for the first time.

For many years, turnips were a frequent diet for the poor, as well as for animals; as a result, turnips had an image issue in nations such as the UK because of this! Turnips were often the only meal that was available in times of crop failure and food shortages. Additionally, during times of war, Europeans were frequently forced to rely on turnips owing to the scarcity of many other types of vegetables.

In point of fact, the turnip dish known as Woolton Pie, which was invented by the Master Chef at the London Savoy during World War II, was named after the Head of the Ministry of Food in the United Kingdom. After the war’s conclusion, Woolton Pie was quickly removed from restaurant menus, while carrot cake, which was also popular during the wartime rationing in the United Kingdom, continues to have pride of place on many menus.

In the eighteenth century, increasing agricultural yields in the UK were partially attributable to the use of turnips. When farmers were encouraged to engage in four-field crop rotation with turnips, clover, barley, and wheat, this meant that not only did fields not need to be left fallow for a year, but also that the turnip crop meant that livestock could be fed during the winter instead of having to be slaughtered in the fall. This was made possible as a result of the four-field crop rotation.

This new method of crop rotation, which was advocated for by Charles “Turnip” Townshend, also indirectly contributed to the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. More food was now available to feed an expanding population, and many of those people went on to work in the factories that were being built as a result of the Industrial Revolution.

About the Turnip

In addition to being a cruciferous vegetable, turnips belong to the mustard family (Brassicaceae), making them a distant relative of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, arugula, and Brussels sprouts. Even though the turnip (Brassica rapa) is a root, or more correctly, a combined lower stem and upper section of taproot, it is not a root vegetable. Instead, it is a brassica, which thrives in milder climes and is best grown in areas with a shorter growing season.

The turnip is a plant that may live for two years but is most often planted as an annual. Turnips are often cultivated with rutabaga as a cool-season crop; however, turnips develop far more quickly than rutabaga does, with some kinds being ready to harvest in as little as six weeks from germination.

The purple top kinds of turnips, such as Purple Top White Globe, are the most popular sorts of turnips that can be found in grocery shops. This soft turnip has a taste that is on the milder side yet still rather peppery. White Globe turnips have a taste that is comparable to purple top turnips but do not have the purple top.

You could have more success finding different types at more specialized grocery shops or at farmer’s markets. One example would be baby bunch turnips. These turnips are so little that they are about the size of marbles. Their flesh is white, and their taste is a combination of apple and radish. You could also come across Golden Ball, an older kind of turnip whose name well captures its shape. This turnip has a golden yellow hue and a diameter that ranges from three to four inches. It has a pleasant flavor and a round shape.

In Japan, the Tokyo turnip is sometimes sometimes referred to as a turnip of the Kabura kind. This white radish-like turnip has a diameter of between one and three inches and looks like a white radish due to its round shape and slightly flattened top. A smaller turnip overall. When it is raw, this turnip has a taste that is similar to that of butter, and it is sweet and crisp. Snow Ball is a kind of Japanese turnip that has sweet and mild white flesh; however, if it is left unharvested for too long before being harvested, the flesh may become bitter.

Actually, the greens of Seven Top turnips are what are farmed for consumption rather than the turnips themselves. Although the turnips themselves are edible, the turnip greens of this variety are the most flavorful part of the plant due to the fact that the plant has focused its efforts on producing the greens rather than the root!

Cooking Ideas for Turnips

The traditional preparation of turnips, which involves boiling them in salted water and then serving them, is by no means the greatest method to enjoy them.

Instead, mashing them is one of the most straightforward preparation methods that also results in a pleasant end product. After cooking the peeled and sliced turnip along with the potatoes, drain, then mash the mixture before seasoning with milk or butter, salt, and pepper. To give it a bit more taste, you could also include some cream cheese and bacon into the dish. You may also sauté turnips in a skillet with olive oil, and at the very end of the cooking process, you can throw in any kind of greens to wilt them.

Roasting is one of the best methods for bringing out the taste of root vegetables like turnips because it causes them to caramelize and brings out their sweetness. You may roast them with olive oil and spices like garlic and rosemary; but, if you want an even tastier glaze, you can add some maple syrup or honey to the roasting process.

You may leave the turnips in bigger pieces and roast them with your meat or chicken, or you can roast them with other “winter” veggies like carrots and potatoes cut into cubes. Either way, roasting turnips will work wonderfully. Be careful not to overcook them, since doing so will cause their taste to become more intense, which may cause them to compete with other vegetables for attention.

If you have young turnips, you can grate or shred them and add them raw to salads or mix them in with homemade slaw. They can also be used to a variety of soups and stews together with other vegetables. Another option is to add them raw to salads or mix them in with homemade slaw.

A lot of nations in Europe are fond of turnips, one of which being Finland. In Finland, mashed turnips are sometimes joined together with breadcrumbs, eggs, and a touch of brown sugar. Turnips are often braised or sautéed in French cuisine, and duck is commonly served with these preparations of the root vegetable.

The turnip is a common ingredient in Italian risottos, and pickled turnips are a favorite snack food in Japan and the Middle East. Turnips are often pickled alongside beets when sophisticated pickling is done, and beets and turnips may be pickled in a variety of brines to produce a pickle that is either savory, salty, or sweet.

In Asian cooking, turnips are often used as an ingredient, particularly in soups. Turnip cake, a sort of Chinese dim sum that is pan fried and served as slices or in combination with other dishes, is another famous preparation of this vegetable.

If you have any turnips that are getting on in years and beyond their prime, adding them to curry or other recipes that have a similar taste profile might help conceal any bitterness that may be there. You may alternatively peel and quarter older turnips, then toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and serve them as a side dish. The majority of the bitterness should be eliminated if you place them in an airtight container and chill them in the refrigerator for one hour. After that, you may prepare them in the usual manner.

If you wish to create french fries (or wedges) using turnips instead of potatoes, you will need to boil the turnips for around half an hour before you fry them. They will not have the same level of crispiness if you do not pre-cook them. Additionally, turnips are delicious when grilled.

What to Do with Turnip Greens

It is common for turnip stalks or greens to be available in the late spring, after producers have thinned out their commercial turnip crops. If turnip stalks or greens are available, they should not be thrown away; rather, if they are still green and crisp, you should rinse them and then quickly steam them.

These healthy greens may also be sautéed with garlic, mixed into pesto with parmesan cheese and walnuts, and added to recipes that consist of spaghetti or noodles. Steamed turnip leaves, minced garlic, cream cheese, and seasonings such as salt and pepper are the components that go into making a turnip dip. In certain recipes, turnip greens may stand in for spinach or chard instead of those greens.

Turnips for Nutrition

Since turnips are a vegetable that is high in nutrition, it seems that there was a lot of logic in turning to them during times of war or when there was a scarcity of food.

Because turnips have far less carbohydrates than potatoes do, they are an excellent addition to low-carb diets. Additionally, one cup of raw diced turnips provides just 36.4 calories and 0.13 grams of fat.

The quantity of vitamin K that is necessary for one day is equivalent to the amount that is found in one turnip. Because it aids in the formation of blood clots, the vitamin K family of chemicals is necessary for preventing excessive bleeding in the body. Additionally, turnip includes around thirty percent of the vitamin C that we need on a daily basis, as well as modest or trace levels of a variety of other minerals, including folate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc.

Turnips have a high fiber content, which not only promotes digestive health but is also associated with a lower risk of intestinal illnesses such as diverticulitis when consumed as part of a diet high in fiber. Because it makes us feel fuller for longer and maintains stable blood sugar levels, eating a diet rich in fiber may also play an important part in the process of controlling one’s weight.

Those who have diabetes have an even greater need to monitor and control their blood sugar levels. Turnip extract has been found in preliminary research conducted on animals to be able to reduce levels of glucose in the blood, raise insulin levels, and reverse a number of other abnormalities, including an increase in levels of “bad” cholesterol. In humans, this study has not yet been conducted; nevertheless, preliminary research has revealed that turnip may have some anti-diabetic properties. [Citation needed] [Citation needed]

Because turnips contain dietary nitrates, these may also play an extra role in reducing blood pressure and preventing blood platelets from sticking together as easily. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can have a positive impact on heart health, and because turnips contain dietary nitrates, this may also be the case. In addition to helping our arteries relax and widen, the potassium in turnips may also be beneficial for lowering blood pressure because of its ability to flush salt out of the body.

Turnips, like other cruciferous vegetables, have been associated with a reduced chance of developing cancer. This is due to the fact that cruciferous vegetables contain certain chemicals that have been shown to either aid guard against cancer or even slow down the growth of cancer cells.

Although turnips are beneficial to one’s health, the greens that they produce are much more so. In comparison to turnips, they are a better source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium.

However, consuming an excessive amount of turnips might bring up its own set of complications. It is possible for it to induce stomach pain since it is a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in fiber.

When you are cooking turnips, if this is an issue for you, cut off the top and bottom, and check for a line about a quarter of an inch in from the skin. You will remove the more fibrous material that is normally near to the skin of the turnip if you cut away the flesh above this line (towards the center) since it is naturally located close to the skin. It is true that doing so will lessen the amount of fiber that is contained in the turnip, but doing so will also alleviate some of the pain that may be caused by eating an excessive amount of fiber.

Yes, The Taste Is Worth Trying

It would seem that the function that turnips have played throughout history is likely a factor in why many of us now do not find them appealing. If you have never been bold enough to try them or if you have made the frequent error of merely boiling them up in the pan, then why not give them a second opportunity the next time you are at the store? Even if you simply mash them with some potato and cream cheese, this will not only give a new and interesting flavor to your dinner, but it will also contribute some important nutrients.


Do turnips taste similar to potatoes?

Turnips that are older and more developed have a flavor that is most comparable to potatoes. They have a tendency to be bitter when they are eaten raw, but if they are cooked properly, they will smell pleasant and taste sweet as well. If you cook them properly, they will have the flavor of beets but will lack the earthiness of beets. The flavor of young turnips may be either sour or sweet, similar to that of celery.

Are turnips good for you?

The cruciferous vegetable known as the turnip offers a number of health advantages. They have an outstanding nutritional profile, and some of its bioactive components, such as glucosinolates, may help improve blood sugar regulation, guard against dangerous microorganisms, and offer anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

What is the best way to eat turnips?

You may have it baked, boiled, or steamed. You can prepare turnips in every method that calls for potatoes, and then more. You may bake them, boil them, or gently steam them with little butter, salt, or lemon juice to add flavor to stews, soups, and stir-fries. They are also delicious on their own.

Are turnips good tasting?

Young turnips have a crunchier texture and a sweeter flavor than older turnips. On the other hand, turnips that are older have a taste that is surprisingly comparable to that of potatoes. They smell and taste sweet when cooked correctly, in a manner similar to that of beets but omitting the earthiness that beets are known for, however they have a harsh and disagreeable flavor if ingested raw.

Which is healthier potatoes or turnips?

The amount of calories in a serving of turnips is lower than the amount of calories in a serving of potatoes. The amount of calories in a serving of cubed turnips is 18 calories, whereas a serving of russet potatoes has 59 calories. Carbohydrates make up the majority of the calorie content in each of these meals. A cup of turnips has 4.2 grams of total carbs, but a cup of potatoes has 13.5 grams of total carbohydrates in an equal serving.

Whats healthier potato or turnip?

Potatoes have a larger amount of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B, and minerals than turnips do, making them a better choice for your health. When compared to potatoes, potatoes have a higher concentration of B6, folate, thiamin, niacin, B5, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc.