There is evidence that the turnip was domesticated before the 15th century BC;
it was grown in India at this time for its oil-bearing seeds.
The turnip was a well-established crop in Hellenistic and Roman times,
which leads to the assumption that it was brought into cultivation earlier.
Wild forms of the hot turnip and its relatives the mustards and radishes are found over west Asia and Europe,
suggesting their domestication took place somewhere in that area.
The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) is a root vegetable.
In the north of England and Scotland, turnip refers to the larger,
yellow rutabaga root vegetable, also known as the "swede" (from "Swedish turnip").
Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as "turnip greens" ("turnip tops" in the UK), and they resemble mustard greens in flavor.
Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter.
Smaller leaves are preferred; however, any bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.
Varieties specifically grown for the leaves resemble mustard greens more than those grown for the roots, with small or no storage roots.
Varieties of B. rapa that have been developed only for the use of leaves are called Chinese cabbage.
Both leaves and root have a pungent flavor similar to raw cabbage or radishes that becomes mild after cooking.
turnip contains bitter cyanoglucosides
that release small amounts of cyanide.
Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides is controlled by a paired gene.
How To Cook A Turnip
Everything You Need To Know!
Do you know how to cook a turnip?
How To Select A Turnip
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.
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 pesticides/herbicides/etc.
Here is the most current list:
Imported Grapes (remember this goes for wine too!)
As you can see, turnips are not among the Dirty Dozen.
How To Clean and Prep A Turnip
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.
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.
How To Cook A Turnip
A silver oven
A silver pot with a lid
A ceramic-coated saute pan with a lid
A collapsible steamer
Or Eat Your Turnips RAW
Cut raw turnips into sticks for use with dips.
Grate and use in salads or coleslaws.
Turnip Vegan Flavor Matches
Bacon, vegetarian (I like Fakin' Bacon. Use sparingly - this is not a health food)
Brown sugar (I like organic Sucanat)
Butter, non-dairy (I like organic Earth Balance)
Cheese, very mild (such as mozzarella or muenster), non-dairy
Cream, organic and non-dairy (I like Silk Soy Creamer)
Maple syrup, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup
Parmesan cheese, non-dairy
Sucanat, or dry sweetener of choice
White wine vinegar
Turnip Helpful Hints
turnips are BEST during their peak season, which is October through March.
Raw turnips will last up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator crisper.
Turnips provide a great crunch and texture, so be sure not to overcook.
Leftover turnips are NOT very tasty (OMG!),
so be sure to make only enough for your current meal.
Cut the turnips.
Then blanch for 2-3 minutes (which means you basically place them in boiling water). After blanching, remove with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bath of ice water to cool completely (about 3 minutes or so), drain the water off them completely, and seal tightly before freezing (a vacuum sealer works beautifully).
You can freeze them for up to 9 months.
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