Turnips are part of the brassica family along with broccoli, kale, and cabbage! They are excellent storage crops, and have been used to sustain families through the tough winter months for generations.
Turnips are a mild, pungent tasting vegetable with a slightly bitter and spicy undertone. They taste a cross between a cabbage and a radish. Their texture is crisp and crunchy like carrots.
Hakurei or Tokyo turnips are white globes which have a surprisingly delicate, almost fruity flavor and crunchy texture. They’re delicious raw, but if you can resist the urge to simply pop them in your mouth, try shaving them into salads or slaws along with thinly sliced apples or pears. When cooked, they develop a buttery flavor and when roasted at high temperatures, their sweetness increases.
Kohlrabi is a funny-looking vegetable; it’s about the size and shape of an orange, with a bunch of leafy stems sticking out. It has a thick skin that can range from pale green to purplish, though the inside is always a very pale yellow. In taste and texture, kohlrabi is similar to peeled broccoli stems with a bit of peppery radish thrown in.
The leaves are all edible and can be eaten raw or cooked like any greens.
Fun fact: the original jack-o-lantern was made from a turnip!
Turnips will keep for up to a month stored unwashed in the refrigerator drawer. Be sure to remove greens from the bulb.
First wash and scrub the bulb to remove any soil. Be sure to peel your turnips to reduce the bitterness. Chop the bulb into desired size. Small turnips (referred to most commonly as “Hakurei” or “Tokyo” turnips) may be eaten raw and make a great addition to salads and vegetable platters. Larger turnips should be cooked, and can be baked in an autumn root vegetable dish, added to stew, soups, and casseroles. Try adding turnips to your next batch of mashed potatoes!