Having a 3000-year-old history, Turnips are a staple in any European kitchen. Due to the high water content present, they cut out a chunk of calories from your diet. Every part of the Turnip plant can be eaten and is rich in minerals and vitamins. They act as the best substitute for Potatoes.
Growing Turnips in your home garden is a simple process. If planted at the right season, they mature in just two months, and occupy a special place in your dining table, serving a nutritious meal in your home. Getting to know the different types of turnips can ease out the process, when you have decided to grow turnips in your garden or to add them to your diet regularly or cooking suggestions for each type.
Different Types of Turnips
Back then, the initial turnip varieties were round and globular in shape. They slowly made their way across the world starting from Europe to Mediterranean and through Asia to the Pacific. As they are now cultivated across the world, they have emerged into different types of turnips based on the shape, color of the upper part of the root and color of the flesh.
The European variety is the most common type of turnip which has a tinge of purple color at the top portion of the root and a creamy white bottom. Red skinned turnips are also in common use today. Turnips can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked. But not all turnip varieties can be eaten raw, though.
Here comes a detailed list of the different types of turnips that are available in the market today.
Purple Top White Globe
Yes, this is exactly the traditional variety of turnip which originated in the European soil. It is the easiest option to grow in your garden, which is ready to harvest in just 58 days of planting them.
- This variety is slightly tapered, with globe shaped roots which are purple above the ground and white below the soil.
- Their flesh is sweet, mild and fine-grained in texture.
- The greens of these turnips have to be harvested for leaves before harvesting the roots. Cut out only the outer leaves and keep the center leaves intact with the plant to keep the root alive.
The Tokyo Turnip is an unusually small sized bulb with a crunchy, juicy and a slight bitter-sweet taste when eaten raw. When steamed or boiled, they turn buttery and delicate.
- They are completely white in color.
- Tokyo Turnips are harvested when they are 1 inch to 3 inches in diameter.
- In Japan, where they are majorly grown, there are three varieties in this Tokyo turnip; Tokyo White, Tokyo Market and Tokyo Cross. In other regions, they are simply known as Tokyo Turnips or White Turnips.
- As these turnips are harvested when they are small, you can obtain fresh turnips in just 30 days of planting them.
- Tokyo turnips are a delicacy when steamed. Do not discard the greens and use them as a bed for steaming, which enhances the flavor of turnips.
Similar to its name, this variety of turnip has got a golden-yellow skin and flesh. Popularly known as ‘Orange Jelly,’ this variety of turnip has got its origin from England. It has a creamy yellow to orange flesh depending on the type of soil. It tastes best when it has grown to the size of a golf ball.
- This variety grows all year and matures in 50 days after sowing the seeds.
- The Golden Ball is best known for its taste and flavor, which is mildly sweet and smooth, similar to an after-taste of Almond.
- These turnips taste best when served with carrots.
This variety of Turnip is milky white in color. It serves to be the first-class premium variety globe turnip.
- Due to its aesthetic appearance, it is highly preferred to be a table decoration salad.
- It is sweet in taste and rich in Vitamin C and dietary fiber.
- They are a fast growing crop and are ready in just 5 to 8 weeks of sowing.
- Snowball turnips yield a great supply during early spring and early winter.
- The top greens are rich in nutrients and are tastier compared to the other varieties.
The Scarlet Queen is a red skinned turnip with white flesh. They have an aesthetic appeal due to the outer red skin color and the white inner flesh. Hence, they are majorly served as salads and form a welcome dish or table decoration element in restaurants.
- They are slightly flattened with a sweet and crisp white flesh with a spicy red skin.
- Their surface is hairless, and the stems of the greens are also red in color.
- They can be cultivated in 45 days of sowing.
Green Globe turnips are soft roots that can be easily chewed and eaten. They gave a green globular bulb and white flesh.
- They can be harvested 12 to 15 weeks after sowing.
- They are also cattle-friendly. The roots anchor to the ground strongly; hence, they are not affected when cattle eat away their greens.
- They can survive easily in tough growing conditions.
- They produce good yield during winters, hence form a perfect Christmas meal.
This variety of turnip is majorly grown for consuming its greens. They are the most popular variety in the southern regions of the US. Pluck only a few leaves if you wish to consume both the greens and the root. Leaving few greens on the plant will ensure the growth of more fresh leaves and growth of the root.
Some Tips to Follow
- Turnips are biennial plants but are majorly grown They require well-drained soils and grow directly under the sun. Plant turnips in early spring.
- Turnips prefer to grow in cool weather. Hence they should be planted in early spring, as soon as the soil becomes workable.
- Although the skin of turnip is edible, they can tend to become chewy when cooked. Hence it is better to peel the skin before cooking them.
- Water them regularly for rapid growth and best results.
- Begin to harvest turnips when they are 4 inches in diameter to avoid over-sized turnips as you see in supermarkets. They are the best only when small in size.
- Rotate the turnip growing areas in your garden to avoid soil-borne diseases which affect the next set of plants.
- Finish the harvest before freezing temperatures arrive.
- Use turnip greens when they are young and tender.
- You can freeze turnips for future use; blanch them in water, slice them up and dry them well before dropping them into sealable packets and deep freezing them.
Some Interesting Facts about Turnips
- Turnips are extremely low in calories, just 28 calories in a 100g.
- Turnips are a rich source of anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
- The small and tender turnips are more fresh and sweet and can be best consumed as salads, than mature ones who develop more strong flavor and take a woody texture.
- Small and tender turnips are rich in Vitamin C and fight against cancer, inflammation and boosts immunity.
- Turnip greens are a storehouse of many vital nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, carotenoid, calcium, copper, iron, and manganese.
- Turnips are highly recommended for pregnant women and should be consumed
Planting turnips in your home complements your meal along with the other nutritional main course such as meat, sausages, fish, etc. Turnips taste the best when cooked as soup, made into a puree, soufflé or cut into small flowerets.
If you have self-declared turnip-haters in your home, try this little experiment. You can also store turnips for winter season. Boil baby turnips and puree them in a blender. Mix them with mashed potatoes and add a touch of salt, butter, and crushed pepper. Serve this dish with roasted turkey and take in all compliments before revealing the secret ingredient!