Native to western Asia, the turnip has served as food for humans and their livestock for centuries. In fact, the humble turnip was a daily staple in Europe long before potatoes were. But if you are like many people these days, you might not know what to do with turnips. This bright, fresh late summer salad can help you make the most of this nutritious root.
Turnip roots are low in calories, a good source of folic acid, calcium and iron, and high in vitamin C. In fact, turnip juice has twice the amount of vitamin C as orange juice.
According to traditional Asian medicine, eating turnips improves circulation of qi (energy) and is healthful for the blood. Nutritional researchers suggest that the turnip is an effective food for clearing mucus and treating bronchial disorders such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. Eating raw turnips is said to help disperse lung congestion.
Turnip Selection and Storage
Turnips come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common varieties have creamy white skin with shades of purple, reddish pink, or green. If you choose yellow, chances are you’re holding a rutabaga–a cousin to the turnip, which is also in season at the same time.
While large turnips are impressive, the smaller the turnip, the sweeter the taste. A good turnip will be smooth and heavy for its size.
Other Recipes for Leafy Greens
Turnip and Rutabaga Salad with Watercress
- Shred the peeled turnips and rutabagas using the largest holes of a box grater. You should grate until you have a little over 5 cups of them.
- Slice the onion as finely as possible, add it to the shredded vegetables, and toss to combine everything.
- For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil. Adjust by adding more lemon juice or olive oil, to taste.
- Set aside 1 tablespoon vinaigrette for the watercress and pour the remaining dressing over the shredded vegetables and toss well.
- Dress the watercress with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and a couple grinds of pepper.
- Arrange the vegetables on a large plate, surround them with the dressed watercress and serve.