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August 12, 2010 / Malcolm Dalebö

Discover Turnip

  • The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. 
  • Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock.
  • The most common type of turnip is mostly white-skinned apart from the upper 1–6 centimeters, which protrude above the ground and are purple, red, or greenish wherever sunlight has fallen. 
  • This above-ground part develops from stem tissue, but is fused with the root. The interior flesh is entirely white. 
  • The entire root is roughly conical, but can be occasionally tomato-shaped, about 5–20 centimeters in diameter, and lacks side roots. 
  • The taproot (the normal root below the swollen storage root) is thin and 10 centimeters or more in length; it is trimmed off before marketing. 
  • The leaves grow directly from the above-ground shoulder of the root, with little or no visible crown or neck (as found in swedes).
  • Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip tops” (“turnip greens” in USA), and they resemble mustard greens in flavour. 
  • Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern US cooking, primarily during late autumn and winter. Smaller leaves are preferred; however, any bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water. 
  • Varieties specifically grown for the leaves resemble mustard greens more than those grown for the roots, with small or no storage roots. 
  • Varieties of B. rapa that have been developed only for use as leaves are called Chinese cabbage
  • Both leaves and root have a pungent flavor similar to raw cabbage or radishes that becomes mild after cooking.
  • Turnip roots weigh up to about 1 kilogram, although they can be harvested when smaller. 
  • Size is partly a function of variety and partly a function of the length of time that the turnip has grown. 
  • Most very small turnips (also called baby turnips) are specialty varieties. These are only available when freshly harvested and do not keep well. 
  • Most baby turnips can be eaten whole, including their leaves. 
  • Baby turnips come in yellow-, orange-, and red-fleshed varieties as well as white-fleshed. Their flavour is mild, so they can be eaten raw in salads like radishes.


Leave a Comment
  1. Anonymous / Aug 13 2010 5:27 pm

    Dear Malcolm,Your blog will need a censor in future!1. Addiction (Turnips 2 days running)!2. Cruelty (Keeping harmless Tomatoes in cages)!3. Pornography (A pair of nude Carrots)!Soon be available on Extremetube at this rate!Martin, Droitwich.

  2. Malcolm Dalebö / Aug 13 2010 10:03 pm

    What is Extremetube? Can I use it to blanche my leeks over the winter?

  3. Anonymous / Aug 14 2010 8:31 am

    Dear Malcolm,Blanching leeks? I don't think so!If you Google it & follow the link, and Margaret catches you watching it, her face might blanch.Or yours, when the divorce papers arrive!Best not go there.Martin, Droitwich

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