The Hip Turnip

As many of you know, my summer blogging is inspired by Upper Pond, an organic farm located here in Old Lyme, CT.  I purchased a CSA share from the farm this year;  if you recall from a previous blog, a CSA is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  A farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public, typically consisting of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included, each week throughout farming season.  The advantage to the consumer is eating ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits, getting exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking, developing a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown.  We definitely have this experience with Upper Pond and I am honored to highlight the beautiful foods that they grow, and offer a fresh perspective on how to eat them.  This week I am highlighting the turnip, the young turnip to be exact: white, sweet, crunchy. 

I love turnips.  They are part of the cruciferous family, like broccoli and kale.  Not only are they delicious and versatile, but loaded with vitamins and minerals, however their nutritional value is depleted , as with any vegetable, if you boil them.  Turnips lower blood pressure, and help prevent cancer:

  • High in fiber-lowering all kinds of health risks and making you feel full
  •  Vitamins-vitamins C, B's (nervous system function, help with fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver)
  • Minerals- Calcium, potassium, small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus
  • Low in calories-51 calories per mashed cup (200 calories for potato).

The leafy greens of the turnip are edible, and are actually more nutritious than the turnip itself!  If you happen to have your turnip with green tops in tact, remove the greens as soon as you can;  the greens will actually leach nutrients from the turnip.  The greens should be washed thoroughly and can be used raw of cooked, thrown in with your salad, soup, sandwich, or sautéed on low heat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Turnips resemble potatoes in texture, but exude a bitter flavor, unless you are eating them before they are mature.  

At Upper Pond we have the young, sweet turnips in our share.  How to eat them?  Wash thoroughly.  They only need to be peeled if the skin is tough, which should not be the case with the young turnips.  I like to slice them and use them as a , you guessed it, as a "cracker" topped with chopped Greek olive mix (olive tapenade).  The slices can be added to your sandwich.  Cut them into cubes and add to a salad.  Shred the and make a slaw.  I also love them steamed until tender and smashed with Kerrygold salted butter fresh ground pepper, and chopped fresh parsley.  Don't be afraid to just add them to anything.  Throw them in a casserole or roasting pan by themselves or other veggies in a 400 degree oven, toss with olive oil and roast in the oven, turning with a spoon occasionally.  You don't want to miss these recipes.  Turnips have become quite popular in the New York City restaurants.