An easy-to-grow root vegetable. The white-flesh turnip has a white skin with a purple-tinged top. The "yellow turnip" is actually a turnip relative, the Rutabaga. Small, young turnips have a delicate slightly sweet taste. As they age, their taste becomes stronger and their texture coarser. Before potatoes were abundant beyond South America, turnips were everyday staples, particularly in Europe during the Middle Ages. Thriving in a cold, damp climate, turnips were the food of Europe’s poor. At some point in history, the less nutritious turnip gave up its role as an everyday vegetable to the more nutritious potato. In 1730 Charles "Turnip" Townshend, a British politician, imported Dutch-grown turnips. He wanted to see if livestock could survive in good health throughout the winter on a diet of turnips. In those days it was expensive to grow and store hay all winter so most people killed their livestock in the fall. This practice left people with too much meat, all at one time. Townshend proved that with turnips, easy to grow and store, farmers could fatten cattle through the winter and slaughter only as needed.

Plural: Turnips

Season: November - March

How to select: Select heavy, small turnips. The roots should be firm and the greens (if attached) should be bright and fresh looking.

How to store: Store in a cool (55F) well-ventilated area, such as a root cellar. Can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped for 2 weeks.

How to prepare: Wash, trim, and peel. Turnips may be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried.

Matches well with: apples, bacon, butter, carrots, cheese, chives, cider, cinnamon, cream, garlic, lemon, maple syrup, msuchrooms, mustard, onions, paprika, parsley, potatoes, sherry, sugar, sweet potatoes, tarragon, thyme, vinaigrette, vinegar

Popular Turnip Recipes