Do you know how to cook a turnip?
Most people don't, which is understandable. In fact, some have never tasted one either. Turnips are one of those vegetables that looks sort of strange in their raw state and can be intimidating.
Believe me, I understand! I tried cooking turnips once, but the resulting bitter veggie was enough to turn me off of ever wanting them again. Blech.
I must say that I have tried -- I REALLY HAVE tried to like turnips. They are NOT my cup of tea. But for those of you that love them...well, this page is for YOU! I've done the research for you and this is what I've learned...
Here's what you'll discover below:
Look for turnips with smooth skin. They should feel firm and heavy with crisp green tops. Check for a sweet aroma.
Turnips are, generally, white at the bottom with a light purple blush on the top.
Those that are small 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.
Don't confuse turnips with rutabagas which are much stronger tasting than turnips. They're VERY large, usually have a waxy coating, flesh that is yellowish, with a dirty white bottom and a deep purple top.
Many people enjoy eating the greens attached to the end. If you fall in this camp, be sure the greens are fresh and free from decay. But if you're choosing turnips for the root only, the condition of the greens doesn't matter.
"Is it important to buy organic turnips?"
Sassy Sez: The short answer is maybe.
Here is a longer answer...
Personally, I try to buy everything organic simply because there are more chemical pesticides contained in non-organic food. But this is not always possible for everyone, especially because organics tend to be more expensive.
So if your purpose in buying organics is to avoid the greatest amount of pesticides, etc., then keep this list handy, known as The Dirty Dozen.
The Dirty Dozen are the 12 fruits and veggies that should be purchased organic due to the fact that they contain the greatest amount of chemical pesticides/herbicides/etc.
Here is the most current list:
As you can see, turnips are not among the Dirty Dozen so you do not have to purchase them organic.
Now, all that being said (!) I also recently heard that it's usually best to choose organic varieties of any root vegetable. The reason for this is that, as you can imagine, pesticide can be washed off the leaves or fruit of an above-ground plant, but for something that grows below the ground, all the pesticides are absorbed into the flesh of the plant.
Before cooking turnips, you will have to clean them. To do this, simply scrub with a vegetable brush under running water UNLESS you're baking them. When baking, there's no need to clean them first.
Next, cut away the greens (optional -- the greens ARE edible). Peeling is optional as well, but can be done most easily with a vegetable peeler.
To chop, begin by carefully cutting in half so you have a flat surface. Then place that flat surface on your cutting board and continue to chop, dice, etc. Especially helpful tip when peeling.
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.
Here are the cooking techniques we recommend for turnips.
Click the one you'd like to learn more about for complete cooking instructions.
Create your very own turnip recipe with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly.