Turnips are October’s Harvest of the Month

As the leaves begin to change, so too does our produce selection. Fall produce is more concentrated in root vegetables, like turnips, the October Harvest of the Month.

Turnips are a beautiful round root whose color comes in a gradient of white and purple. The white parts tend to be those that were kept completely underground while the purple parts may have been exposed to sun light. Turnips are very versatile in that unlike most root vegetables, both the root and the green leaves that grow above ground can be eaten.  The green leaves are called Turnip Greens and are a staple in Southern cuisine.

During the month of October, you may find turnips used more abundantly in a variety of recipes from our cafeterias.

Did You Know?

  • The world’s heaviest turnip weighed almost 39 pounds!
  • Turnips are unique in that the root as well as its green leaves are both commonly eaten.
  • Turnips are used as feed for livestock in some European countries.

Try These Delicious Recipes

Barley and Roasted Vegetable Pilaf
Parmesan Crusted Crushed Turnips
Roasted Turnips

How to Buy, Store & Prepare: When buying turnips, a good rule of thumb is to fight your natural instinct to look for the biggest turnip in the bunch. Smaller turnips tend to be sweeter and more palatable. When storing turnips, be sure to remove the greens. The greens will stay fresh for a few days much like other familiar salad greens, but the turnip root can last in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Making it Kid-Friendly: Turnips can be a fun tool to utilize when trying to increase vegetable consumption for your family, especially your kids. I like to call turnips sneaky vegetables, meaning they can easily be mixed in and undetected in several foods. Boiled and mashed turnips blend well into mashed potatoes and help to diversify the dish while sneaking one extra vegetable onto the plate. The same is true for turnip greens in that more familiar greens like collard greens and spinach can be replaced with turnip greens without picky eaters putting up a fight.

Nutrition and Health Benefits: The fact that both the root and green can be eaten makes the turnip very nutritionally diverse. The root portion of the plant is slightly starchy. This means, unlike most vegetables, it is a reasonable source of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates, commonly called “carbs” are our body’s preferred source of fuel. When carbs are not available our body can find other energy sources, but most of our cells, especially our brain cells, prefer to run on carbs. The turnip green however, is a low carbohydrate food. It is an excellent source of fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes the growth and stability of healthy gut bacteria.

Calories: 50Fiber: 5g
Total Fat: 0gProtein: 2g
Total Carbohydrate: 12gCalcium: 8% DV
Vitamin C: 45% DVVitamin B-6: 10% DV