Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Turnips and Turnip Greens

Why eat turnips:

Turnip greens are supercharged with so many different nutrients. Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate, copper, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

How to store:
Turnip greens are best stored removed from the turnips, rinsed, and dried. The easiest way to clean them is in the sink or a very large pot filled with cold water. Place the leaves in the cold water. Let them soak for a few minutes then swish around to loosen grit and sand; drain.  The sand will sink to the bottom while the greens will float. Repeat the process two or three times, depending on how gritty the leaves are.  Lift greens up and out of the water, leaving the dirt and debris behind, and put in a colander or on a clean kitchen towel or layers of paper towels. (Do not pour water and greens out into a colander together, the dirt that has sunk to the bottom of the water will end up on the greens all over again.) Spin or pat dry.   To store, lay greens on several layers of paper towels (a clean dish towel may also be used).  Roll greens up. The towels will absorb any remaining moisture, keep the greens from wilting, and help them last longer.  Store towel-wrapped greens in a clean plastic bag and chill. Greens stored this way will last several days longer than uncleaned and unwrapped greens.
The root part of the turnip can be stored easily by removing from the tops and placing in the crisper drawer.

How to prepare:

Turnips and their greens can be prepared many ways.  Cooked turnips can be mashed and served any way potatoes are.  Many enjoy turnips when blended in equal parts with potatoes.  Turnip greens are famous with southerners who cook them with salt pork or ham bone.  Turnip greens are similar to collards or mustard greens.  The following are recipes I have personally made and they have passed the taste test for Eric and I.

Turnip Soup
 I love that this recipe has both the greens and the root in it.  This is a pretty quick recipe too.  Eric really liked this soup!

3 or 4 turnips with greens                            4 cups of broth (I used chicken)
1 large onion, chopped                                 2 slices bacon, sliced thinly
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced                          Salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil                                            Freshly ground black pepper

1.      Remove the greens from the roots.  Carefully rinse the greens as instructed previously. Cut the  greens into thin strips.
2.      Peel the turnips and chop them into small chunks
3.      Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon, and cook until it starts to render its fat.  Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
4.      Add garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5.      Add chopped turnips and broth. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until turnips are tender 8 to 10 minutes.
6.      Stir in Turnip greens and cook until greens are tender, about 2 minute.
7.      Taste soup and add salt to taste. Serve soup hot, garnished with black pepper, if you like.

Turnip Greens
1 1/2 to 2 pounds turnip greens (the greens from about 4 turnips)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Hot pepper sauce (optional)

1.      After washing the greens really well boil them until tender.  To boil, add greens to boiling, salted water.  Cook, uncovered, until tender about 8 to 12 minutes.
2.      Drain greens well.
3.      In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in the vegetable oil until it just begins to brown. Add the drained greens; season to taste with salt and pepper.  If you’re brave, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

Turnip Soufflé
I made this last fall for the first time.  I was shocked when Trevor ate his entire helping without any fuss. 

3 to 4 turnips, peeled and sliced                 ½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp. salt, divided                                   2 Tablespoons flour
½ tsp. sugar                                                 2/3 cup milk
4 eggs, separated                                        3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1.      Place turnips, ½ tsp. of salt and sugar in a saucepan; cover with water.  Cover and cook until turnips are tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well and mash (do not add milk of butter)
2.      In another saucepan, melt butter; stir in the flour and remaining salt until smooth.  Add milk; bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Beat egg yolks in a small bowl; gradually stir in ½ cup hot milk mixture.  Return all to pan cook and stir for 1 minute.  Stir in turnips; remove from the heat.  Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.  Spoon into a greased small casserole dish.  Sprinkle with bacon.  Bake, uncover at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 


  1. This post has been invaluable to me. I just came home from our local farmers market with a garbage bag full of fresh turnips and greens. I haven't had this since my daddy's farm when I was a teenager where I worked side by side with him picking greens. Reading over your blog brought the ritual home of washing and preparing the greens for the freezer. Thank you very much!

    1. So glad you found this helpful! Have fun preparing your turnips!

  2. Is it possible to soak turnips greens for too long?...Husband left greens in water overnight in fridge