This week’s share will include either turnips or rutabagas. The following information will help you identify them as well as provide helpful storage tips and preparation hints.
Turnips offer us a simultaneous sharp and sweet flavor, enjoyed by many. A good source of vitamin C, potassium, and calcium, turnip greens also provide us with vitamins A, C, and B-complex, and the minerals potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They are one of the cruciferous vegetables believed to prevent cancer.
To prepare turnips, simply scrub with a stiff-bristled vegetable brush. They do not need to be peeled.
Turnips are excellent served raw on a veggie platter with a favorite dip. Or grate raw into salads or slaws.
Small whole turnips can be boiled for 15-20 minutes; larger turnips can be cut into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices or cubes and boiled for 8-10 minutes. Steam 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices or cubes for 12-15 minutes; steam small whole turnips 20-25 minutes. Turnips can be baked alone for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees, or bake with other seasonal root vegetables. Thinly slice into stir-fries, or add diced or cubed turnips to soups or stews.
Turnips can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Turnip greens should be stored separately, wrapped in a damp towel or plastic bag in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Remember to use these as soon as possible.
A close relative of the turnip, rutabagas are sweeter, larger, and more tan in color. Also known as Swedes or Swedish turnips, they were one of the first vegetables grown by the early settlers. They are high in carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, and some minerals, especially calcium.
Store at room temperature for up to one week or in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator for up to one month.
To prepare, scrub vigorously with a vegetable brush to remove garden soil. Rutabaga can be grated raw into a salad. Or steam 1-inch chunks for 30-35 minutes, until tender. Mash, top with butter, salt and pepper, and serve. Rutabagas can also be mashed in combination with other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. Delicious!