Turnip & Swede

Well, hello. Thanks for dropping by. We know we’re not the most popular vegetable today, but we used to be very popular in the past. Maybe it’s just a matter of fashion, but we’re sure that if you just give us another chance you’ll find out just how tasty we really are. Let me tell you more about us.

For a start we’re a root vegetable related to radishes and mustards. We have a cylindrical, carrot or top-shape, with a flat top and a root which tapers to a point. Our skin is almost smooth and can be green, or white with green or purple bands at the top. Our leaves can be eaten as a leafy vegetable. Our flesh colour is white or yellow with a delicious, tender and sweet flavour.

Availability

We’re available all year round with our peak being from May to October.

Did you know?

Both our roots and leaves can be eaten. Our root has a strong flavour, but is milder and sweeter when we’re small and young

Varieties

We’re not sold by variety.

Why Turnips are Good to Eat

  • We’re high in vitamin C and are a good source of dietary fibre (especially our leaves or ‘turnip tops’)
  • Our tops are rich in beta carotene, vitamin E and folate (one of the B vitamins).
  • We’re a good source of potassium.
  • 100g of our root has 95kJ. 100g of our leaves has 55kJ.

How Turnips are Grown and Harvested

We prefer a colder climate and are grown from seeds which take 1-2 months to mature.

Our swollen carrot-like taproot sits in the ground with just the top exposed to the light. Our green leaves, consisting of a main leaf stem with smaller leaflets, grows out of the top of our root.

We’re harvested by being pulled or dug from the ground, before being washed and graded for market.

Choosing Turnips

Select those of us which are firm, feel heavy for our size and have a sweet smell.

How to Keep Turnips

Refrigerate us in the crisper section. Use within 2 weeks.

Prime Growing Areas

History of Turnips

We are descended from the wild turnip, which is native to Central Asia, the Mediterranean and the Near East. We were known to the Romans but were used as food long before the rise of their empire.

In England we were recorded as being for sale in the 16th century. From England we came out with the First Fleet to Australia in 1787, being planted on Norfolk Island shortly after the colonists arrival in 1788. We were an important crop because of our rapid growth and the fact that we could be used as both human and stock feed.

Fun Ways to Eat and Cook Turnips

Remove our green tops and cook us as a vegetable, like spinach. Our bulbs should be washed, peeled and chopped. Thinly sliced or grated, we’re a delicious addition to salads. If small we may be cooked whole with skin left on.

Boil, bake, microwave or stir-fry us until tender, about 6-10 minutes if chopped, 15-20 minutes if left whole. Serve us as a vegetable, stuffed or add us to casseroles, soups, souffles or mousse. Because we can absorb large quantities of fat we’re often served with fatty meat.

Try a couple of these simple recipes:

Scalloped Turnips
Slice 500g turnips and coat lightly with flour. Place in a greased 25cm ovenproof dish each layer dotted with butter, chopped chives, dill and grated pepper. Heat 300ml milk until nearly boiling. Add a dash of Tabasco and 1 clove minced garlic. Pour over turnips and bake, covered, at 180ÌC for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake further 40 minutes, or until tender.

Turnip Tops with Bacon
Pan-fry 250g bacon until browned. Remove bacon pieces. Saute washed and chopped turnip tops until tender. Return bacon and toss well.

Honeyed Turnip
Boil or microwave 500g diced turnips until tender. Drain. In saucepan melt 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and turnip. Cook until well coated. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives.