Harvest Of The Month | March | The Turnip
History of the Turnip
Turnips were originally grown in India as well as other parts of Western Asia. Ancient Greeks and Romans used this vegetable as a staple ingredient in many dishes. The bulbous root of the turnip has a slightly sweet flavor and is most enjoyed raw, on top of a fresh salad. The leafy greens are typically boiled with herbs and spices and are popular in the Southern US. Raw or cooked, bulbs or leaves, turnips can provide a plethora of nutrients.
Relative of the radish, the turnip is a part of the root vegetable family. The turnip root is naturally a white to yellowish color. When exposed to the sun as the roots rise above the soil, turnips will turn to a purplish red color. Attached to the root are long green leaves similar to kale in appearance. Both the bulb and the leaves can be eaten.
Presently, turnips are grown around the world. The white and purple vegetables grow best in the temperate climates of fall and spring although they can endure a little frost. Turnip seeds can be planted in loosened soil with the addition of compost. Weekly watering and a weed free bed is all the care turnips will need for proper growth. Turnips can be pulled when the leaves are about 4-6 inches long or the bulbs are about 2-3 inches wide. Harvesting should be done after about 5-10 weeks depending on the type of turnip. Once pulled, be sure to pull the greens immediately from the bulb for better results. You can store turnips in a vegetable bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
The turnip root is low in calories, high in fiber and rich in Vitamin C and calcium. The roots are also high in anti-oxidants, which contribute to a healthy immune system. Turnip leaves are even more packed with nutrients. The leaves are rich in B vitamins as well as Vitamin A and K and various minerals. The leaves are related to the beneficial treatment of certain cancers such as lung and colon cancer. Being high in vitamins and minerals, the leaves also support health brain development.
|Vitamin C||21 mg||60 mg|
|Vitamin A||0 mg||11587 IU|
|Vitamin K||0.1µg||251 ug|
|Calcium||30 mg||190 mg|
|Iron||0.3 mg||1.10 mg|
|Manganese||0.134 mg||0.466 mg|
|Carotene-ß||0 µg||6952 ug|
Recipe – Quick Pickled Turnips
3-4 small turnips (about 12 ounces), peeled and very thinly sliced
1/2 cup quartered and thinly sliced red onion
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 cup white-wine vinegar
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Layer turnips, onion and garlic in a quart sized jar (or similar 4-cup container) with a lid.
Whisk vinegar, hot water, sugar, peppercorns, salt and crushed red pepper (if using) in a medium bowl until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Put the lid on and gently shake a few times to distribute the flavorings. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to develop.
For best flavor: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Per 1/4-cup serving: 12 calories; 0 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g carbohydrates; 0 gadded sugars; 0 g protein; 1 g fiber; 52 mg sodium; 73 mg potassium
Photo: Flickr | John Morgan