Turn up the turnips

You can easily grow fresh Michigan turnips at home or find them at a farmers market or grocery store throughout the season.

Michigan fresh turnips are easy to grow and readily available throughout the summer, starting around the middle of June and into late fall. In Michigan, this easy-to-grow vegetable can be planted in ten-day intervals in order to have it available throughout the season. Harvesting tips from Michigan State University Extension encourage harvesting the bulb, depending on the variety, when it is approximately 2-4 inches in diameter for the best flavor and most tender bulb.

Turnips and turnip greens are considered a vegetable and are a low-calorie, healthy source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Wash the bulbs and greens well prior to cooking. Turnip greens can be sautéed or boiled and should be cooked until tender. Adding pepper, garlic or herbs of choice will add additional pizazz.

Turnip bulbs can be used and eaten in a variety of ways:

  1. Wash, peel, slice and eat them raw.
  2. Grate the turnip and include in a salad or soup.
  3. Sauté the turnip in a small amount of olive oil and season with black pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the whole turnip, or quarters, with a little olive oil and herbs and roast in the oven or grill them.
  5. Turnips can be cooked just like potatoes. They do cook faster. They can be mashed just like potatoes.

Turnips are often associated with potatoes, beets or radishes. At the market, look for smaller turnips as the larger-sized turnips can have tougher skins and have a stronger, hotter flavor. Select brightly-colored turnips that are firmer to the touch and with minimal blemishes. If the greens are still attached, remove them at home and store both in plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper drawer for later use. Turnips can also be preserved by canning or freezing.

If you would like to grow your own turnips, Michigan State University Extension provides a variety of gardening tips for several fruits and vegetables. Tip sheets for harvesting turnips and other vegetables are also available. To read additional information about turnips, or other Michigan fruits and vegetables visit MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh website.

Looking for a farmers market close by that might offer garden fresh turnips or other Michigan fruits and vegetables? Visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association to find a farmers market near you.

The online USDA Recipe Finder is a great recipe site. Once at the site, enter your selected ingredient, like turnips, into the ingredient search box and several recipes that include turnips will be generated. The USDA Recipe Finder will also assemble a shopping list for any recipe on the site.

Below is a low-cost, vitamin-rich Roasted Root Vegetables recipe submitted to the USDA Recipe Finder by Montana State University Extension. For tips on including more vegetables in your meals, visit the USDA MyPlate vegetable tip sheet.

4 servings


  • 4 medium root vegetables (choose a variety of potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, beets, or sweet potatoes)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 onion (medium, chopped)
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut vegetables into large chunks.
  3. Place in a medium bowl and pour oil over top. Add seasonings or Parmesan and mix well.
  4. Spread an even layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Check a few vegetables to see if they are tender.

Per recipe: $1.95
Per serving: $0.49

Montana State University Extension Service

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