Vegetables: Have you tried Turnips?

Turnips are root vegetables which have been found all over Europe and Asia for centuries. They are a well-known food source for both the root and greens.

Turnips come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Select small to medium turnips that are heavy for their size which indicates good moisture content. Look for good color and firmness, and no bruises, soft spots or shriveling. If greens are attached, they should be bright and fresh looking.

Turnip greens are nutritious and delicious. Remove them immediately if they come attached to the turnips and store them separately in plastic bags. They’ll last three or four days. The turnip's root is only high in vitamin C. The green leaves of the turnip top are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. They are also high in lutein (8.5 mg / 100g).

The root part of turnips are normally peeled before being used, but if they are small and young and the skin is thin, treat them like a potato and roast them unpeeled after a good scrub. In fact, you can treat turnips like potatoes in several ways. Seasonings for turnips include garlic, parsley, and dill. They can be steamed, boiled, baked, sautéed or steamed. Try mashing turnips too. One of the most delicious ways to cook turnips is to roast them. To do this, first peel off the skin and cut the turnip into quarters. Throw the cut pieces into a bowl and drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and a little pepper, mix everything up and let them sit in the fridge for an hour. Put them on a baking pan and roast at 350° for around 45 minutes or until soft.

Here are a few more ideas to use turnips:

  • Try a new kind of coleslaw. Enjoy shredded turnip instead of cabbage in your next batch of homemade coleslaw.
  • Turnips make a great matchstick garnish for any dish. Just cut into really thin slices and garnish as desired.
  • Eat them raw. Slice young turnips and eat raw with a dip or peanut butter or add shredded raw turnips to salads.
  • Switch your greens! Use turnip greens as an alternative to cooked spinach or collard greens. They’re delicious sautéed or steamed as a side dish with garlic, onion, olive oil and lemon, or as an addition to soups, stews and pasta.
  • Roast them. Add a cubed turnip to your next pot-roast or pan of roasted vegetables.
  • A sweet side to any entrée: Enjoy maple-glazed turnips as a side dish with pork, beef or any poultry main dish.
  • For an extra boost of nutrition and flavor, add turnips to soup or stew at the same cooking stage as you would potatoes.

The Fruits & Veggies—More Matters national public health initiative suggests simple ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet for better health.  

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