by Jason Ford
Ford on Food
In my humble opinion, turnips are one of those good-old-fashion peasant vegetables … and I love them!
They’re hearty, healthy, earthy, rustic, versatile and affordable.
Turnips are a root vegetable and are a relative of cabbage.
The root section of the plant swells into a bulbous shape, and the top of the bulb that is slightly exposed to sunlight often develops an attractive, purplish suntan, while the unexposed base remains white.
The immature stems and leaves of the plant can be used as a cooked leafy vegetable, or used fresh in salads.
Cultivated in Europe for millennia, turnips are now grown all over the globe and have found their way into the cuisines of almost all cultures.
They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
Turnips can be purchased in a long root shaped, small baby size or large mature bulb shaped.
I have seen deep red, purple, green and pure white skinned varieties – but virtually all have white flesh.
The smaller immature turnips can be eaten raw or finely grated into salads as they are tender, juicy and spicy.
More mature turnips contain less water, are more fibrous and develop a sweeter flavour profile.
For this reason, the larger variety is usually cooked into a dish with other ingredients.
They can be roasted, braised, boiled, mashed, steamed and sautéed.