Produce Spotlight on Turnips
Turnips, a member of the brassica family, are primarily grown for their roots, but both the root and plant’s leafy greens are edible. The root is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. The leafy greens provide folate, manganese, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Shopping for Turnips
Choose smooth and firm turnips; avoid bruised, mushy, or cracked roots. Small and medium-sized turnips are sweeter and more flavorful than larger ones. When selecting turnips with leafy greens, look for bright green tops. Massachusetts-grown turnips are available from June through November and are often found at farmers’ markets and farmstands. Canned turnip greens, pickled turnips, and frozen turnip roots and greens are available year-round.
Purple Top – purple tops and white bottoms, with large, lobbed greens; sweet flavor becomes milder with cooking.
Hakurei – white salad turnip best harvested young.
Scarlet – bright red salad turnip.
Storage and Preparation
- Separate unwashed greens from the root and store in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Wash leaves before using.
- Store unwashed turnip roots in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 1 week. Scrub small roots under cool running water or peel off the thin layer of skin of large roots before using.
- To freeze turnip roots, wash, peel, and cube, then blanch for 3 minutes. Place in labeled freezer bags or containers and use within 10 months.
- Freeze greens for longer storage. Blanch 2 to 3 minutes. Place in labeled freezer bags and use within 12 months.
- Baby turnip roots taste peppery and can be eaten raw.
- Turnip roots can be cooked the same way as potatoes, either boiled and mashed or roasted.
- Sauté greens in olive oil with garlic, onion, and lemon juice.
1 pound turnip =
2 to 3 medium turnips =
3 cups diced or mashed
6 to 7 cups raw leaves =
1 cup cooked
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.