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Turnips - Waxed Yellow or Fresh White?

  • j
  • 5

I love mashed turnips, especially as a side with Thanksgiving Dinner. I've always used the waxed yellow turnips you find in the supermarket.

Recently, however, I picked up some fresh turnips at a local greenmarket. These turnips are not waxed and their outer color is mostly white with some tinges of purple at one end. I was planning to use them (instead of the usual waxed, yellow ones) to make the mashed turnips my family expects for Thanksgiving but I experimented with one to see how it would taste.

After boiling 'til tender, mashing with butter, S&P & a dash of sugar, I tasted my little experiment and, although it was good, it seemed too mild. I like the flavor of the usual waxed yellow ones and that's what I'll serve on Thanksgiving (can't face all those folks saying: "what's this? why is it white? turnips? doesn't taste like turnips.")

So, my question: What's the difference between these two types of turnips? Are they the same ones only one is fresh and the other is older? (The white ones are smaller than the yellow ones I'm used to.) Also, is there a better way to prepare these nice young white turnips?

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  1. White & purple = turnip
    Yellow & brown = rutabaga
    See my rutabaga post below.
    2 completely different veg.
    I'm not ford of turnips but I love rutabaga.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Niki Rothman

      I'm just discovering this myself (not fond of turnips, love rutabaga).

      I found your post just after I wrote this one - timing is everything!

      I'm still wondering what to do with the cute white and purple turnips I bought....

      Thanks Niki!

      1. re: Jane M

        For those cute little white and purple turnips:

        one bunch of young purple turnips (about one to two inches in diameter)
        2 finely minced garlic cloves (optional)
        2 TBSP olive oil
        salt and pepper to taste

        Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Trim the stems and roots of the turnips, and scrub off any hairs. Cut each turnip in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and garlic if you like it. Mix up well and place on a sheet pan, leaving space between the pieces. Place in the oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes until they are soft on the inside and nicely brown on the outside.

        BTW, If you have the greens they are good cooked as collard or mustard greens.

        1. re: Liz

          Thank you - that sounds delicious (and easy - I like easy)!

        2. re: Jane M

          White turnips are wonderful in soups (and lower in carbs/calories than potatoes). Make some turkey soup, adding them near the end of cooking time & test for doneness.