In short, turnips are a cruciferous vegetable! Think brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and arugula. They’re called cruciferous vegetables because of their four-petaled flowers, which look like a cross. They can also be called a root vegetable, and are most commonly compared to potatoes, beets, or radishes because of their shape and growing style.
But did you know that:
- There are different types of turnips?
- Turnips are jam-packed with nutritional benefits?
- And there are many ways you can start including them in your meals?
You’ll want to read on to learn more about how you can start incorporating turnips during mealtimes! Trust us.
Fun facts about turnips
- The Swiss city of Richterschwil hosts the Turnip Festival every year in November. This tradition started about 100 years ago.
- Turnips taste sweeter if harvested after a frost
- Before carving pumpkins on Halloween became a thing, turnips were the vegetable of choice
- The heaviest turnip was presented at the Alaska State Fair in the US at 39 pounds and 3 ounces.
What are the different types of turnips?
While most people, if familiar with turnips, picture a purple-white bulb with green stalks, there are actually many different types of turnips – over 30 varieties. We won’t talk about them all, but here are some of the most common:
Purple Top Turnips
The most popular of them all, Purple Top Turnips are known for their distinct mild, spicy flavor. They’re best for stews and braises, but their versatility means you can roast them to bring out their full flavor.
White turnip is more of an umbrella term to describe a variety of turnip types. This may include Baby Bunch Turnips, White Lady Turnips, Manchester Market Turnips, and White Egg Turnips, for example. They each boast their own delicious, distinct flavor that can complement a wide range of recipes. While the White Lady Turnip is mild in flavor, Baby Bunch Turnips have a radishy-tart apple flavor.
The two red varieties are the Red Round Turnip and the Scarlet Queen Turnip. Based on their appearance, it’s easy to tell the two apart. The Queen Turnip is striking and large, while the Red Round Turnip is small and has stalks coming out of the top that look like beetroot. Both of these are perfect for adding some bright color to your meals, as well as a delicious sweet flavor.
There is such an wide range of Japanese turnips that we can’t list them all, but you should know turnips, in general, are an integral ingredient in Japanese cuisine. From the oldest variety Shogoin to Nozawana – popular for stir-fries and making pickles, there’s no limit to what you can make with Japanese turnips.
Indian turnips look very similar to Purple Top Turnips, but they’re, in fact, more known for being used as a medicinal herb. Sources say that they are used to cure sores, ulcers, ringworm, swelling from trauma, and tumors.
Nutritional content of turnips
Turnips are a healthy vegetable that are beneficial to anyone’s diet. With zero fat content and being a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, they can do plenty of good for the body. They also are said to come with a whole host of health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory effects and an immunity boost.
|Nutrition Facts: 1 Medium Turnip|
|Total Fat||0% daily value (DV)|
|Sodium||82mg (3% DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||2g (8% DV)|
|Protein||1g (2% DV)|
|Vitamin C||43% DV|
Sneaking more turnips into your meals: Turnip recipe ideas
To get you started, here are some delicious turnip dishes that will prove just how adaptable and hearty this veg can be.
- Roasted chicken with winter vegetables and potatoes: A classic cold-weather recipe that’s easy to make and super filling.
- Root vegetable gratin: A great vegetarian main or side that can be customized to your liking.
- Brown butter mashed turnips: An interesting and carb-free twist to your usual mashed potatoes.
- Creamy turnip soup: A warm hug on a cold or rainy day
- Turnip cakes: A Chinese recipe that includes Chinese sausage and dried shrimp
Popular fruit vs. vegetable debates:
Looking to learn a little more about the beloved turnip? Read on to get answers to some common questions people ask.
There are a plethora of ways to incorporate turnips into a meal. As they’re just as versatile as potatoes are, you can:
Many also enjoy adding them to soups or stew, using them as a side, or putting them in salads. Especially if you’re trying to cut down on carbs or want to put a new twist on an old favorite, you can replace your typical starch with turnips.
Turnips are a powerhouse of nutrients and are low in calories, making them an ideal vegetable to add to your diet. Studies suggest a wide range of health benefits too, from lowering blood pressure to relieving digestive issues.
Since there’s such a wide variety of turnips, there are also a wide variety of flavors. Typically though, raw turnips are mildly spicy, but when cooked become more earthy and sweet.
Although they have many similarities, rutabagas are larger and are a hybrid of turnips and cabbages. They’re also a cold climate crop and have a yellowish-brown outer layer and orange-yellow flesh. In terms of flavor, you can expect rutabagas to taste a little sweeter and turnips to have more of a radish flavor.
The skin on turnips is usually thin enough not to require peeling, but it’s up to preference. Especially if the skin is thicker and more leathery or you’re eating it raw, it can be a good idea to peel before eating.