Turnip: Everything to Know About This Root Vegetable

turnips are a versatile root vegetable

Growing, Harvesting and Cooking

For over 3000 years, the turnip has maintained its place as one of the healthiest and most versatile vegetables available. Their greens can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Roots should be stored in the fridge for two months or in a cold and damp place for 4-5 months and should not be refrigerated. Fun fact: when baked these vegetables can be frozen for up to 6 months. How?! Turnips are fresh vegetables grown in both spring and autumn, avoiding the warm summer months. They mature very quickly, and you can enjoy together greens and roots.

Turnips are harsh biennial and are usually grown yearly by kitchen gardeners. It is sweeter and laxer than spring crops and has fewer parasite problems, making it a favored fall crop for sowing in late summer. The beauty of this vegetable is that they grow in a few days. Bright greens can be eaten within one month and swollen roots within two months. Try them as a healthier side instead of potatoes or other starches.

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When to Grow

Turnips grow and taste best when harvested in cool weather. For late spring harvests, sow turnips in the lawn 2-3 weeks before the last average frost day in spring or at the end of summer for autumn harvest. In the reversal of the season, the late autumn harvest is early autumn, and the winter harvest is late autumn.

The vegetable is harvested and renewed every other year and grow every year. They have lively green leaf insignia that grow from swollen root-like bases or roots.

Harvesting Turnip

Turnips are harvested 30 to 60 days after planting. When the roots are 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) in diameter, lift the roots. Carefully lift with a garden fork. If the leaves are 12 inches (30 cm) long, you can cut the leaves. First, cut the outer leaves. Diluted seedlings can be harvested and turned green. Interested in sustainable cooking? Learn how to use an entire pumpkin, including seeds here!

How to Cook Their Roots?

My preferred way to cook these roots is to bake them. This is the way I cook root vegetables most often (such as beets and Jerusalem artichokes). The main reason is that it’s easy and the results are always great.

Turnips roast well with other root vegetables or even in place of starches like potatoes

If you bake these roots even a little, the sweetness comes out. You can also mix other root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots and roast them to make a great vegetarian root medley. Apart from roasting, you can also boil and mash the roots like you do mashed potatoes, and use these mashed turnips for different recipes.

How Can We Cook Turnip Greens?

The most commonly practiced way I cook turnip greens is to add them to the soup or fry them with bacon fat onions. You really can’t go wrong with any of these methods!

Roughly cut the leaves, and you’re ready to do anything! Fry the onions in bacon fat (or in your favorite fat), add the green turnips and cook until tender. I love doing it in a cast-iron skillet.

That’s all! A small amount of red wine vinegar may be added at the end of cooking, but it is not particularly necessary. The vegetables are velvety and have a nice flavor that I prefer over other dark green leafy vegetables. For more simple stove top recipes, check out this course!

About the Author

Eshka-Ne Kumar

Eshka-Ne Kumar

Eshka is a Growth Strategist at Gooroo, a tutoring membership and online learning platform that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.