Turnips

Turnips

General Information:  The turnip is related to the radish, which belongs to the mustard family, and provides a slight clue regarding its flavor. It was a very important early European staple, which has significantly diminished in its popularity since the arrival of the potato. Varieties in Switzerland range in color from pure white, to white with red or purple tops, to greenish yellow. The pure white variety is the mildest, and is available from May through August. During the Fall, the white variety with purple or red tops are quite abundant. They are not well-suited for raw consumption, and best used in purees or in soups. The yellow variety with green hues is a cross between the turnip and the kohlrabi and called Swede or Rutabaga. It has a yellow flesh and is milder in flavor with rich amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Season:  May – February (Fall varieties are best when they are grown in a climate that is uniformly cool. If the summer was dry, the turnips will be sharp and bitter)

Purchasing Tips:  Choose smaller and younger turnips for a delicate, sweeter taste. Older turnips can be woody and quite strong in taste. Turnips should be heavy for their size, with firm roots. If the greens are still attached, they should be brightly colored and fresh looking.

Storage:  Best when stored in a cool, dark location. They will keep for months. Refrigerate no more than 2 weeks.

Cooking Tips:  Some young early-season varieties can be consumed raw in salads. Mostly used in soups, pureed with potatoes, steamed, or baked.

Nutritional Info:  Vitamins B & C, along with calcium.

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