Turnip also known as white turnip is a common root vegetable grown in moderate climates and used for culinary purposes in a variety of different culinary traditions. The name comes the Latin word for plant which explains how common it was.
Tender varieties of the plant are used for human diet and the larger ones are used to feed a variety of animals and livestock. There are many different types and variations and they are grown across Texas.
- They are related to potatoes
- The leaves can be eaten as well
- They are filled with vitamin C
Turnip Buying Guide
Turnips are best when they are young and that’s what you should be looking for when selecting them. You’ll know that they are based on their size. Younger turnips are more mellow and easier to cut and cook.
They should also feel heavy for their size and there shouldn’t be any visible changes on the skin or flesh of the plant or sudden and strange changes in color. Those should be avoided. If they are sold with greens still attached it to should look fresh and bright.
Turnip Production & Farming in Texas
Turnips are commonly grown in Texas and that’s mostly done by farmers that also produce mustard greens since the conditions needed to grow the two are the same and the plants complement each other in terms of production practices.
The varieties that are used are selected based on which part of the turnip you’re looking to sell. There are ones that are better suited for the production of leafs and ones that are better selected for the production of roots.
The site for planting should be chosen based on how much sunlight it has, and you should go with the ones that always have plenty of sunlight. The soil should also be well drained.
The turnips need to be planted when they soil is ready to be worked on. The seeds will sprout if the soil temperature is 40 degrees F or higher. It’s best to start planting 8 to 10 weeks before the first frost is expected.
Harvesting should be done before it’s too hot. Too much heat will cause the plant to become firm and unusable. The younger the plants are the tenderer they will be which is also something to take into account when you’re harvesting.
Pesticides are used on turnips and they have a long residue time as well. As much as 50 different pesticides can be used on them.
It’s believed that turnips have originated in Eastern Asia and that they were grown there where ever the climate could have allowed for it. They were probably domesticated before the 15th century BC. It was an established crop in Hellenic and Roman times and from there it moved across the world.
The ease of production and the variety of uses made it what it is today and that’s why turnips could be found anywhere and grown with little expenses.
Turnips are packed in perforated plastic bags. This is what helps keep the humidity at the right place and thus keep the turnips moist at the places where they need to be in order to remain fresh for a longer period of time.
Dipping turnips in hot melted Paraffin Wax gives a glossy appearance and is of some value in reducing moisture loss during handling.
There’s plenty you can do with turnips and that’s one of the reasons why the plant is so popular and so versatile. They are usually baked, boiled or steamed in order to make the flesh tender and to bring out their natural juices.
They can also be used in stir fried dishes or in soups. There are also meals that mash them as they would potatoes. The turnips are prepared by peeling of their skin and then chopping them off to pieces and then going by the recipe you’re trying to make.
Turnips need to be stored in a moist cloth or paper towel in placed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They can be kept that way for four to five months. The greens of the turnips are stored and protected the same way as the roots.
Here’s a simple recipe that would work great with a young and ripe turnip that is made to be tender and sweet.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the turnips and cook for 6 mins until just tender, then drain.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion for 5 mins, then tip in the bacon and cook for a further 8 mins until it is crisp and the onions are golden. Stir through the thyme.
Lightly butter a medium, overproof casserole dish. Cover the base with half the turnips, then spoon over half each of the onion mixture, crème fraîche and cheese. Season, then repeat the layers. Bake in the oven for 25 mins until bubbling and deeply golden. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then serve with a green salad and some cornichons.
Both the roots and leaves are great sources of vitamin C, which protects your body from free radical damage when levels of these molecules become too high in the body. This nutrient also improves iron absorption and helps regulate blood cholesterol, among many other health benefits. Furthermore, turnip greens are rich in the fat-soluble vitamins K and A, the type that your body absorbs better when consumed with fats.
Vitamin K plays an essential role as a clotting agent, meaning that it helps prevent excessive bleeding. Plus, vitamin A is vital for eye, skin, and lung health.
Additionally, the leaves contain high amounts of folate, which aids the production of red blood cells and helps prevent developmental irregularities in fetuses.
When Are Turnips in Season in Texas?
To find out when Turnips are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.