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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Spain & Portugal / November's Tag Game ~ El nabicol ~ Turnips
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    November's Tag Game ~ El nabicol ~ Turnips

    Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:32 am
    Forum Host


    Turnips (Brassica rapa), called nabos in Spanish, are a root vegetable commonly grown worldwide in temperate climates. They are often associated with potatoes or beets, but their closest relatives are actually radishes and arugula, which are members of the mustard family. They’re usually grown primarily for their bulbous taproots that are used in daily cooking. However, the tops of turnips plants—turnip greens (called grelos, in Spanish)—are also edible. Turnip greens are somewhat similar in texture and peppery flavor of mustard greens and therefore are great additions to salads, casseroles, soups and stews, and other dishes. In Spain, grelos are traditionally served with pork and sausage, though many families also serve them with fish and seafood as well.

    ~ The cookbook, Culinaria Spain, explains the importance of turnips in Galician cuisine. “Large estates and vast expanses of land, such as those found in Castile or Andalusia, are unheard of in Galicia.” In constrast, parcels of land tend to be kept within families, and when individuals pass on they tend to split up their family estate and hand off parcels of land to offspring. And those future generations take great pride in maintaining their own gardens, taking great care in planting and harvesting large quantities of fresh vegetables. Beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, garlic and turnips are favorites among most Galician landowners. And while people throughout other regions in Spain “may turn their noses to the unusual flavor of turnip leaves”, Galicians on the other hand view nabos and gelos as a delicacy and recognize them for their suitability for sopas (soups), cocidos (stews), casseroles and many hearty winter dishes.

    Selecting Turnips

    Look for turnips that are brightly colored and white or creamy-colored at the bottom with a light purple or violet blush around the top. Baby turnips might not have developed the violet ring around the tops, and they may somewhat resemble large white spring radishes.

    ~ In fall and spring, look for turnips with the tops—turnip greens—still attached so you can be more assured that they were freshly harvested. (In winter, turnips will often come from storage, so their leaves may already have been removed.)

    Smaller turnips generally have the sweetest, most tender flavor. The smaller turnip can be eaten raw, such as when sliced and added to salads.

    The larger the turnip, the more “woody” it tends to be.

    Cleaning and Preparing Turnips for Cooking

    Before cooking turnips, you will have to clean them. To do this, simply scrub the turnip with a vegetable brush under cool running water, unless you plan to bake them. When baking turnips, there's no need to clean them first.

    ~ Next, cut away the greens at the top of each turnip (this step is optional -- the greens ARE edible, so consider reserving the tops for other dishes). Peeling is also optional, which can easily be done with a vegetable peeler.

    To chop, begin by carefully cutting the turnip in half so you have a flat surface. Then place the flat surface on your cutting board and continue to chop, dice, etc. Turnips can be sliced, diced, chopped, or left whole depending on their size, and cooking technique you'll be choosing. They can also be grated to be used in salads or coleslaws.

    Cooking Turnips

    Baked Turnips - Unlike other cooking methods, there is no need to scrub the turnips with water first when you will bake your turnips.

    Boiled Turnips - Very easy to make, but the time they take to cook will change depending on your preparation.

    Sautéed Turnips - Smaller turnips can be left whole, but the larger ones should be cut in half or quarters if you plan to sauté your turnips. The smaller the cut, the quicker they will cook.

    Steamed Turnips - There's really no need to watch them -- just set the timer and let them do their thing.

    Raw – Turnips are a great snack eaten raw. Simply cut raw turnips into sticks and use them with your favorite vegetable dip, or toss the raw turnip strips in salads or coleslaws.

    Turnip Greens - Turnip tops are nutritious and often eaten as cooked greens. Certain cultivars, such as 'Shogoin', are grown exclusively for greens. Other cultivars provide both greens and roots, such as 'Purple Top,' 'White Globe,' 'Just Right' and 'Tokyo Market.'

    Recommended Turnip Varieties (white-fleshed unless noted):

    Just Right – a fall hybrid - smooth, high quality, mild roots, pure white
    Gilfeather – oval, usually large; creamy white, smooth texture, delicate flavor, smooth foliage, almost like a rutabaga
    Golden Ball – sweet, fine-grained yellow flesh
    Market Express – an early fall vegetable with pure white roots
    Purple Top White Globe – the standard purple and white; smooth, globe roots
    Royal Crown – a hybrid with a purple top, uniform roots, resistant to bolting
    Scarlet Queen – a hybrid - bright scarlet root, smooth white flesh
    Tokyo Cross – a hybrid - all-white, uniform, round roots
    White Knight – smooth, uniform, pure white, flattened globe roots
    White Lady – a hybrid - pure white with sweet, tender and delicious roots and smooth tops

    Health and Nutrition

    A single medium-sized raw turnip is about 34 calories. And like most vegetable, it is valued for its nutritional value.

    For instance, the turnip's root is high in vitamin C. In addition, turnip greens—tthe leafy tops of turnip plants—are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium, and they’re also quite high in lutein.

    ………………………….…..………Tag Game ~ Turnips

    ~ For your convenience, we have selected an assortment of Spanish (and other) recipes that contain turnips or turnip greens. You can tag a recipe from this list, or you can branch out on your own and select any recipe from the database as long as it contains turnips or turnip greens as an ingredient. And feel free to tag as many recipes as you can make before the end of the month.

    Featured Recipes

    Crock Pot Spanish Inspired Beef Stew by *MessyPessy*
    Smoked paprika, Spanish Sherry and fresh turnips work together to create a warm stew to perk up the chilly nights ahead this fall.

    ~ Medley Soup ( Sopa Mezclada) by CJAY
    The fragrant saffron, autumn turnips and plethora of fresh ingredients will make this dish one of your favorites for years to come

    ~ Caldo Gallego by breezermom
    This Galacian version of the Spanish classic cocido (stew) is packed with fragrant herbs, spicy peppers, protein-packed benas and fresh trunips for a full flavor sensation

    Sopas / Soups

    Vegetarian Portuguese Kale Soup
    Cream of Turnip, Potato and Leek Soup
    Navy Bean Soup With Ham and Vegetables
    Cream of Turnip Soup
    Sopa De Cenoura - Carrot Soup - Portugal

    Cocidos / Stews

    A Winter's Walk Beef and Carrot Stew With Herb Crusted Dumplings
    All Day Beef Stew
    Autumn Harvest Chowder
    Easy, Easy Beef Stew
    Hearty Winter Stew
    Bayonne Lamb (Collier De Mouton a La Bayonne)

    Ensaladas / Salads

    Turnip-Apple-Carrot Salad With Eggs
    Turnip Slaw
    Raw 'paella'
    Peasant Turnip Slaw With Sweet Hot Mustard Dressing
    Baby Turnips and Endive in Honey Mustard Dressing
    Fresh Turnip Salad

    Side Dishes

    Peppery Turnip "Fries"
    Sweet Spicy Turnips
    Turnip Puff
    Roasted Winter Root Vegetables
    Caramelized Turnips , Carrots and Parsnips
    Cheesy Turnips

    Main Dishes

    Pork Loin Roast with Roasted Root Vegetables
    New England Boiled Dinner
    Braised Chicken With Baby Vegetables and Peas
    Winter Vegetable Cobbler
    Cast Iron Pot Roast
    Chicken in a Pot With Leeks, Spring Onions, and Turnips

    Last edited by Lalaloula on Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total
    Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:34 am
    Forum Host
    Participants' Turnip Recipes
    Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:34 am
    Forum Host
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