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Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

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While shopping at Seattle's University District Market this past Saturday, I halted in front of a gigantic pile of root vegetables. Parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips aplenty.

Two different types of turnip.

I asked questions. That's how this works.

First off, I'm not sure I've ever cooked with turnips before. I wanted some ideas. And I wanted to know, of course, what the difference is between the light gold and the white & purple turnip. What should I expect?

The nice lady at Nash's Organic Produce told me that the golden turnips (those big guys in back) have a milder sweeter flavor and taste good raw, while the purple turnips (the turnips that are, uh, purple) have a sharper, more radish-y flavor, and are better suited to cooking. I didn't even know you could eat turnips raw. The things you learn at your farmers' markets! Turnips also store really well.

So I went home with my turnips. I took pictures of them.

I researched suitable recipes for them.

And I peeled them and tried side by side comparisons of the raw flavor of each type of turnip. Raw turnips have a pretty powerful taste, even the sweeter golden turnip! But the purple one was definitely sharper. Interestingly, their textures were a little different too - the golden turnip was crisper, the purple softer.

So I grated up my raw golden turnip.

And plunked it on a salad.

That's turnip. Not cheese. Salad greens from Alm Hill Gardens. Apples from Tonnemaker. Turnips from Nash's.

Tossed with a little oil and vinegar, a very tasty salad. The sharpness of the turnip balanced well with the sweetness of the apples, and grating the turnips adds some nice texture to the salad.

Ok, time to cook those purple guys.

Peel and slice. You can see that there is a golden turnip in here too - I had one leftover and decided to slice it up too.

Time to make turnip gratin!

I used this recipe from Epicurious, but cut in half. And with no sage. And no potatoes. I modified this recipe from Epicurious, I should say.

And it was delicious. A very good use of a turnip or two.

So! Turnips! Eat them raw if you've got golden ones. Otherwise, drown them in cream and cheese. I'm sure they'd be perfectly good roasted alongside some potatoes and parsnips.

Root for root vegetables! Yeah! Turnips! Wahooooo!

Your Seattle Correspondent,

Lisa

Views: 860

Tags: Farms, Lisa, Real, Time, Wheeler, root, turnips, vegetables

Comment by Kali on December 8, 2010 at 11:00pm
Such an inspiring blog! I, for one, am buying turnips this week. And both the salad and gratin are going on the to-bake list. Right up by the top.
Thanks!
Comment by Caitlin Couture on December 8, 2010 at 11:01pm
I've done the gratin before (so tasty!) but never had I heard of munching on raw turnips. Sounds like an excellent new root veggie adventure =)
Comment by Cara Rosaen on December 8, 2010 at 11:31pm
Caitlin and Kali - isn't it amazing, the list of new things to try is infinite - makes this life wonderful!
Comment by Stephanie M, Together In Food on December 9, 2010 at 2:13am
That gratin looks awesome, and I never thought of eating raw, grated turnip on a salad. Thanks for the ideas, as I see plenty of turnips at our farmers' market.
Comment by Stacey on December 10, 2010 at 8:23am

Great ideas for the turnips! My mom always made turnips (I think the purple ones) kind of like mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving with milk, butter, salt and mashed up. There's another kind of awesome turnip called Shogoin. It is a Japanese turnip and they are small (about 2") and have a mild, sweet flavor. They are great just sliced and steamed. Here's a description at Baker Creek. My husband also uses turnip greens for making vegetable broth. Ah, the diversity of the turnip!

Comment by Vegetable Garden Cook on December 12, 2010 at 1:47am

My mother likes to roast them, but I found this tricky because there is only a small amount of starch content in the turnips. They are much higher in sugar, which will cause them to burn (just like new potatoes). So you have to treat them very gently or they will be quite bitter. 

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