Guide to White Turnips: How to Select, Store, and Cook
Chilly temperatures call for cooking root vegetables until caramelized and fall apart tender. The next time you make a batch, try adding white turnips to the usual mix of potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash, or braise with their leaves for a fantastic side.
Winter white turnips peak from October through February. They look like oversized radishes with a cream-colored or purple-tinged skin. Unlike peppery radishes, white turnips have a delicate, sweet flavor similar to baby turnips (larger turnips can be tough and woody). The sweetness comes from natural sugars, which caramelize beautifully when roasted; keep an eye on the pan and stir occasionally to prevent over-browning. If your turnips come with greens, you’re in luck! These are also delicious. Trim the delicate stalks from the leaves before simmering.
How to Select
Choose turnips with blemish-free skin. The roots should still be attached, but trim them off when you're ready to cook. Bonus if the greens are also attached—they're delicious, too.
How to Store
Turnip bulbs will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Trim the more perishable greens from the bulb right away—use a sharp knife to cut them off at the base where the stems and the bulb intersect. Store the greens separately for up to three days, wrapped in a towel to chill in the crisper drawer.
How to Prep
Peel away the purple-and-white skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife if you like, but with small turnips, the skin is tender enough to leave on.
See Recipe: Braised Turnips with Greens
Turnips are great candidates for a variety of cooking methods: roasting, braising, sautéing, and steaming. You can also thinly shave or julienne them to use raw in salads. Try the recipe above to incorporate both bulb and greens in one dish.