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turnips, eek?!?

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I picked up my CSA veggie box and found it had 4 rather small and perky turnips in it. My mother never cooked them for me because her father renounced them after the Depression. Most of Epi's recipes sound delicious but I'm on a diet and cannot use them as a matrix for butter/cream/parmesan. Any suggestions?

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  1. Peel them, cut them into chunks, spritz them with a tiny bit of olive oil and roast them with some salt, pepper, herbs, etc. My mom never made turnips, either. When I finally tried them, I realized what a bad rap they've gotten. They're also really good in soup or stew.

    1. A very non-threatening way to introduce turnips to your household is to use them in vegetable soup. It's not all about the turnip that way and when you have the the other flavors of the vegetables, the turnips are by comparison sweeter than you might expect.

      Traditionally (where I'm from anyway), the turnips are diced and simmered with the greens. I use stock and a dried chile for flavor.

      1. I got some radish-sized ones this weekend and have been enjoying them sliced into salads. But roasting them as Ruth suggests is also very good.

        1. I was not a big fan of the poor turnip growing up, but when I moved to RI years ago, they prepare it mashed with carrots. I found I liked them that way. The sweetness of the carrots really made a big difference. Not sure what you put in with them mashed? I suppose some salt & pepper and whatever you like that is on your diet?

          I think roasted, as Ruth, suggests, would be good too. I make a roasted root veggie dish (from CI) that is basically cut up root vegetables (any you like, but cut so they will cook in the same time) and it is simply tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for about an hour or until done. Garlic is added near the end so it doesn't burn. REALLY good. I typically use potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion and carrots, but turnips certainly qualify.

          1. I agree with roasting! This might be too rich for you but the are wonderful cooked with carrots and glazed. Basically cut the veggies into equal sides and put them in a skillet with water that comes about halfway up the sides of the veggies, add about two TB of butter and a teaspoon of sugar, cover and simmer til tender then take lid off and continue shaking pan til the liquid is gone and they are glazed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cassoulady

              I noticed they get especially sweet when you use baby turnips with that method.

            2. They're wonderful in braised dishes also involving duck or lamb. French-style duck legs braised with turnips and Chinese-style "red-cooked" lamb with turnips are two perennial favourites.

              1. I just bake them along with potatoes, and then peel them and serve them sliced as a side dish. They have a distinct, but not overly strong taste, which goes well with other meal items. I do the same thing with other root vegetables, i.e. rutabaga and beets. Simple and healthy, if not overly flavorful. They're good as cold left overs also. But then I like to eat just plain steamed vegetables too. I figure I get enough fat/oil and spices from main dishes.

                Peeling, slicing and putting in a soup also sounds like a good idea.

                1. I like them cooked and raw. Sometimes turnip sticks to munch on, grated into a salad, kind of like a slaw with some carrot, ginger, minced scallions and a dressing made with rice vinegar and a drop or to of dark,toasted sesame oil. Yummy!

                  1. I think a small turnip or two is essential to a good chicken soup - but not too many or their flavor will overpower all others.

                    A turnip gratin is also lovely - look on epicurious or cook's illustrated; I can't remember where the recipe I've used came from.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: janniecooks

                      I made the turnip gratin last night from Epicurious, as a main dish for an all vegetable dinner. It was very good. But for lower cal, I agrre that using 1/2 inch or so chunks of turnip with other vegetables roasted in the oven is a good way to go.

                    2. Other than adding to stews or having them simply boiled, all my other stuff invloves butter or cream.

                      Suggest you try them in whatever ways your diet allows you to have carrots. Enjoy - they're a great veg.

                      1. I like them sauteed as you would prepare hash browns, with a sprinkle of lawry's seasoning salt.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mellicita

                          Wow...I never would have made hashbrowns with them. I've roasted them and put them in soup, that was it!

                          Now I have an idea to, perhaps, mix turnips, potatoes and rutabagas together for a root veggy hashbrown, with onions and bacon of course. Also, this CSA concept was totally new to me, I'm going to have to check that out...

                        2. My mother loves turnips, she peels,dices and cooks them in chicken broth with lots of pepper. Each time she cooks the turnips I taste them again just to make sure I still don't like them.

                          1. Just a few thoughts...
                            I hardly had them growing up and why? Similar to relizabeth, my dad's relationship with them during the depression. He'd accompany his father into farmers' fields at night to do a little raiding. At times, it was the only food available to them, so they'd eat turnip morning, noon, and night...mashed, fried, boiled, baked etc etc

                            Today, we usually dice them and add to corn (hominy) soup. Boiled and mashed turnip usually finds its way on the table at holiday time.

                            Finally a question, whats the difference between turnip and rutabagas?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: porker

                              «Finally a question, whats the difference between turnip and rutabagas?»

                              Both members of the mustard family (Brassica), along with cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, etc., but different species (B. rapa and B. napus napobrassica). Common turnips are usually white fleshed. Rutabagas are usually yellow fleshed and bigger. Rutabagas are also called Swedish turnips or Swedes, and the name derives from old Swedish or Norwegian words for root and bag. Cook rutabegas like you would big starchy turnips; I usually mash them, often with potatoes.

                              1. re: carswell

                                To think I was calling them turnips for over 40 years and they're actually rutabagas!
                                I've been duped!

                                Thanks for setting me straight.

                                Here's another carswell, I now know that brussel sprouts are members of the mustard family. Are they related to cabbage at all?

                            2. I received turnips in my CSA box too along with Daikon radishes and I was told to cook them like french fries (on the stove or in the oven). I have to admit they were delicious and my kids loved them! I sliced the turnips, radish, and beets into thin chips and then lightly coated them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The beets were nice in the mix because they added the sweetness while the radish added a mild bite, and the turnip was mellow/sweet. I'm enjoying CSA and so are my kids...there are so many different varieties of produce out there and I'm glad that I get to taste a good portion of them.

                              Does anyone have good recipes for fennel?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Run5

                                The Greens cookbook has a substantial salad that I love with fennel. It is white beans, tossed while slightly warm with a mustard vinaigrette, then you stir in slice fennel (raw) and strips of gruyere cut in pieces about the same size as the fennel, serve it on a bed of a substantial green like escarole. Yummy, and fairly healthy, as well. I eat it as a main dish with good crusty bread.

                              2. They are best mixed with Rutabagas. Put the two of them together in a plastic bag and dump in the compost. :)

                                1. soups are a great way to use up those turnips without being killing your diet. where i'm from, white perky turnips are prized and should be eaten with minimal embellishments. you can make simple chicken broth with some fresh shitakes, maybe a slice of ginger and turnips, add some soba noodles and greens for a light meal.

                                  you can of course make a salad. i'd use something creamier to balance the spicy/sharp flavors, creme fraiche or yogurt with some chili oil...

                                  you can cut them in thin strips and sautee them in garlic with some broth and eat it with bread or rice, you can even bake it in a pastry (add some chorizo/chinese sausages).

                                  recently i made turnip cake from the epicurious site. although it is not the healthy variety, i highly recommend making them. great to give out to friends...

                                  1. While peeling and practicing turning vegetables in culinary school, I discovered that I really liked raw turnips, sprinkled with kosher salt. I'm pretty sure there's a limit to how much raw turnip a person should eat, but they emphasized not wasting anything. Since I never did accomplish a perfectly "turned" vegetable, I frequently wound up with a sizeable pile of turnip chunks/slivers/peelings. But turnips and potatoes, cubed, boiled and then pureed together with a big lump of butter and some S&P makes a heck of a good side dish.

                                    1. I recently simmered turnips in a curry sauce, and it was great! Then the next day I made a split pea soup and added the leftover curried turnips to it, which was also great.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        I agree... I love them in split pea soup. It adds just the right contrast to make it so homey.