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TURNIPS: How to prepare and cook

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

Turnips are a cruciferous vegetable related to kale, collards, cabbage, and broccoli. Their leaves are smaller and more tender than collards with a slightly bitter, yet delicious, flavor. Turnips are commonly white where they were underground, and then purple, red, or green where they've seen sunlight.


Turnips are best to pick when they are smaller as they are sweeter. As they get bigger, they develop tougher skins and stronger flavors. When buying turnip greens, look for bunches unblemished, crisp, and dark green. If you buy greens with the roots attached, remove them from the root and store them in separate plastic bags in your fridge's crisper. When buying the roots, look for those that are creamy colored with a violet ring around the top. They should be firm without blemishes and feel heavy. Like most root vegetables, turnip roots keep well over a several-month period when in a cool, dark, and dry place.


Turnip greens, helpful in heart and lung health as well as arthritis, are an excellent source of vitamin K, A, C, and E, as well as fiber, calcium, and folate. The roots are high in Vitamin C and can help with digestion and detox.


Rinse turnip greens underwater and chop them into equal sizes for even cooking. Smaller leaves are preferred because they are less bitter. If the leaves are bitter, after boiling them, pour the water off of them and replace it with fresh water. Turnip roots should be cleaned and are usually preferred peeled. They can be roasted, mashed, baked, sauteed, grilled, or added to soups or stews. They are commonly cooked, but can also be eaten raw. The "hot" flavor associated with larger turnips lends them to being mixed with other root vegetables.


  • 3-4 turnips and 1 bunch of turnip greens

  • 2 small #onions, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves #garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 2 slices bacon, finely chopped (optional)

  • 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, depending on how "soupy" you like your soup

  • Salt and black pepper

Remove greens from the #turnips and wash and rinse. Cut into thin strips, and set aside.

Peel turnips and chop into small chunks. Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it starts to render its fat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.

Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add chopped turnips and broth. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook until turnips are tender 8-10 minutes.

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