We always have a soft corner for unique vegetables with complex taste. One of the vital reasons for loving uncommon vegetables is the mystery behind their taste, flavor and appeal. A vegetable like turnip opens wide new possibilities for cooks to be honest. It gives us the scope to experiment and come up with delicious and innovative recipes.
Turnips to be precise are not rare vegetables but a debatable one. People were always divided into two sides for liking and disliking the taste of turnips. Our today’s blog discusses what turnips taste like and how one can salvage the bitter taste of it. With answer to these two questions, we think we have already managed to garner the attention of both ‘like turnip’ and ‘dislike turnip’ parties. At the end of this article our aim would be to convince you to try out some healthy yet appetizing turnip dishes for the day.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Turnips
- Description of the taste
- How to Choose the Right Turnip?
- How to use turnips?
- How to get rid of the bitterness?
- Turnip as a substitute to potatoes
- Nutritional facts about turnip
- Interesting turnip dishes for you
- The Bottom Line
Introduction to Turnips
Turnips are extremely convenient to grow. Its abundance and easy availability is a convenience to both gardeners and cooks. In fact, you can grow them in your backyard and have fresh vegetables throughout the year. This brings to us about the harvesting season of turnip. Turnips grow well throughout the year actually during both summer and winter. Turnips belong to the same family as cabbage. Cabbage, cauliflower and turnips have always been different from other vegetables. The cooking style differs greatly from ordinary vegetables. They need to be handled with a lot of care.
Turnips come in both small and large form and they can be used in various dishes. Surprisingly cooked turnip tastes really good compared to raw turnip. Both the root and shoot are edible parts of turnip. You would be amazed to find out how each part of turnip can be used for cooking purpose. Wait till the end while we share some amazing turnip tricks with you.
Description of the taste
The answer to how does a turnip taste like is very subjective. It depends on what form you are looking for. Tender and young turnips tend to taste sweet. A more subtle flavor compared to carrots. Medium aged turnips actually taste a lot like potato. As a matter of fact, turnips work great as a substitute to potatoes. Now, older turnips when eaten raw taste bitter unfortunately! Yes, there is a breed of turnips that taste bitter but this bitterness can be salvaged with right cooking methods.
Here is where it gets interesting that you can actually change the taste of turnips with the art of cooking. If you like celery and carrots, you would like the flavor of normal turnips as well. A particular turnip breed tends to be tangy and sweet as well.
Another drawback to turnips’ taste is that if not cooked in the right manner, they tend to get bitter. Therefore, moral of the story is turnip has got a versatile taste and flavor of its own. However, the majority of its taste depends on your cooking techniques.
How to Choose the Right Turnip?
The first step to a successful cooking is to identify good quality vegetables from the mediocre and bad ones. Your experience with turnips can go very wrong if you do not choose the right type of turnips. In fact, many turnip haters came into the scenario because they probably couldn’t use the right cooking method or choose the wrong turnip type.
At first you need to be able to identify the old turnips from the new ones. The older turnips are light pink in color and are somewhat round in shape. The size is similar to a baseball actually. The young ones come in different varieties. They can be of purple, white and even yellow color.
The younger ones tend to have smooth skin and fresh smell. You can feel a fresh subtle sweet smell from the young turnips. If you are planning to use them for salad, buying young turnips are a must. Older turnips should only be used for cooking.
How to use turnips?
Turnips are much more versatile than what you thought they were. This vegetable’s flavor can blend into various types of dishes from eastern to western. Of course, using them for right purpose is necessary as well. For instance, the green leafy part of the turnip goes really well with traditional Asian cuisines.
To be precise, it tastes superb with rice and beans. You can also use this tender leafy part as a substitute to spinach in many dishes. Even in Italian recipes including pizza, turnips taste great. But you would have to make the taste of turnip palatable. How to do that? Before using the leafy part of the turnip in the aforementioned dishes, you should sauté them with butter, garlic and some pepper.
You can use the globular root of the plant in many ways. In fact, the globular root is the main edible part of the vegetable. They work great with salads, curries, sautéed vegetables, pickles, casseroles and much more.
How to get rid of the bitterness?
First of all, the bitterness depends a lot on what type of food you pair the turnips with. If you pair them with spicy foods such as chili or ham, the bitterness won’t impact the dish much. Ideally, you should pair them with spicy of fatty food items. Other than that, you can get rid of the bitterness in different ways too.
Remember that only mature turnips taste bitter. These types of turnips are used for cooking purpose only and eating them raw doesn’t taste good at all. So, here’s how you can salvage the bitterness of mature turnips. You need to peel the skin off in the beginning. Next, you should start by chopping the turnip into quarters.
Put the chopped pieces in a container. You can add a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix them up with the chopped pieces. Keep them in an insulated container in the refrigerator for about an hour. This should take away the bitterness from the turnips. These turnips can now be used for sautéing, baking or steaming.
Turnip as a substitute to potatoes
Potatoes are delicious vegetables and there is no doubt about that. We are honestly a great fan of potatoes and we feel there is nothing that can substitute this marvelous vegetable. However, potatoes possess high starch content. Meaning they are high in carbohydrate.
Carbohydrate intake in excessive manner is harmful for the health. Plus, those who are planning to lose weight or are following a low card diet, potatoes are a strict no. But that doesn’t mean you can enjoy some great potato dishes. Turnips work great as substitute to potatoes. How great is that? For anyone following a low carb diet, you should always use turnips instead of potatoes.
First of all, a cup of potato contains around 22 grams of carbohydrate whereas that of turnip contains only 6 grams. Now that you are convinced that turnips are the healthier choice, let’s talk about some recipes that can substitute potatoes with turnips.
Turnip fries/ turnip wedges
Instead of French fries or potato wedges, it’s time to go for turnip fries. If you manage to cook them right, it surely won’t disappoint you. The difference between potato and turnip cooking is that you would have to boil the turnip for about thirty minutes to bring out the crispiness. The next directions are the same as you would do with normal French fries. The seasonings go really well with turnips actually.
Instead of high carb mashed potatoes, switch them with low carb and tasty mashed turnips. It’s better to use tender turnips only for this. But to be on the safe side, mash the turnips with mixture of butter, salt, pepper and some garlic. You would be pleasantly surprised how good they taste. You can add some bacon strips for a special twist to the recipe.
Everyone loves to get a bite of some traditional potato grating. You can experiment that with turnip and see if your guests can understand the difference. Some coconut cream, paleo cheese and butter will add to the exclusive flavor of the turnip gratin. It is both healthy and flavorful at the same time.
Nutritional facts about turnip
Other than being a great healthy substitute to potato, turnips bring about a lot of health benefits for you. Having them in your regular diet will keep the doctor away.
High source of vitamin
Turnips are known to be rich in Vitamin A, C and K. Vitamin A is known to be good for better eyesight while vitamin C provides the skin the right nutrients. In fact, the vitamin C available in turnips makes up for your entire vitamin C needs for the day.
High fiber content
Turnips are high in fiber as well as contain the compound called folate. Due to possessing high amount of fiber, turnip prevents the human body from developing cancer to a great extent. It is very helpful for reducing inflammation of colon. In fact, turnips’ fiber lowers the risk of diverticulosis.
Good source for minerals
Since turnips have two edible parts, the green leafy part and the globular root, the nutritional benefits are much more compared to ordinary vegetables. Turnips contain high amount of calcium.
To be precise, a cup of turnip possesses 229 mg of calcium. We all know calcium is an essential compound for the bones. Overall for a low card and healthy diet routine, turnips are a great vegetable.
Interesting turnip dishes for you
Since we came to a consensus that turnips are actually tasty vegetables, let’s get down to business now, shall we? We can’t let you go just yet without trying some fabulous turnip recipes for the day.
Yes, if you are looking for some green healthy dips for your unhealthy chips, you know which ingredient to go for. This dip will taste great with some tortilla chips or corn chips. You can also include them with tacos. The cooking process is similar to normal spinach dips. We would recommend using only tender turnips for this recipe. If you want to do a bit extra, you can browse through this turnip dip recipe for reference.
For some warm appetizers for the day, roasted turnips taste really good. Of course, you need to cook them well. The good part is for roasted turnips, you don’t have to worry about it being tender or mature. Any type of turnip tastes great when roasted.
Simply chop the turnips to quarter and add some olive oil, salt and pepper for taste. Then roast them in oven or stove until caramel color is formed on them. You can serve them with a bit of honey glazing for flavoring. For inspiration, you can check out this roasted turnip recipe.
Who would’ve thought that the bitter and tangy taste of turnip can be utilized for preparing some amazing pickles! Cooking surely is an art! With a fermentation time of approximately 15 to 30 days, you can create turnip pickles in various brines. You have the liberty to make them sweet, salty or savory based on your palate. This is a common turnip pickle recipe you can use. But feel free to innovate.
Fun facts about turnip
As food critic and lover, we tend to experience so many amazing things. Even a simple vegetable like turnip are seen from different perspective in different countries. For instance, in Ireland and Scotland turnip lanterns are a well followed custom just like Halloween.
In Nordic countries, turnip used to be the staple food instead of potatoes for quite a while. Turnips are an integral part of the Japanese festival of the seven herbs called ‘Suzuna’.