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turnip

Not only is this root vegetable easy to grow, but it keeps well, too. Because of this, turnips have long been popular in Great Britain and northern Europe. The white-fleshed turnip has a white skin with a purple-tinged top. The so-called yellow turnip is actually a turnip relative, the rutabaga. Small, young turnips have a delicate, slightly sweet taste. As they age, however, their taste becomes stronger and their texture coarser, sometimes almost woody. Fresh turnips are available year-round, with the peak season from October through March. Choose heavy-for-their-size small turnips, as they are the youngsters and will be more delicately flavored and textured. The roots should be firm and the greens (if attached) bright-colored and fresh-looking. Though turnips can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for 2 weeks, they do best in a cool (55°F), well-ventilated area such as a root cellar. Before using, they should be washed, trimmed and peeled. Turnips may be boiled or steamed, then mashed or puréed. They can also be stir-fried, cubed and tossed with butter, or used raw in salads. Turnips, a cruciferous vegetable, are a fair source of vitamin C. See also turnip greens.