Turnips are low-carb roots that often go unnoticed in markets.
If you incorporate them into your meals, they can become your next favorite food.
But before that, you need to be familiar with all their variants and their taste.
So, what do turnips taste like?
The flavor of turnips can make you reminiscent of some vegetables.
Keep reading to know all about turnips, what they taste like, and how to pair them with other food.
What is Turnip?
Turnips are fleshy root vegetables belonging to the family of cruciferous vegetables that includes cauliflower, cabbages, and many others.
They are easy to grow and are ready to harvest within six to ten weeks of planting.
The most common variant of turnips appears pale purple at the top and white towards the bottom.
But some are green or white.
Turnips are eaten raw or cooked, and their taste differs each time.
The health benefits of turnips make them an indispensable part of the diet.
And you can grab hold of these benefits by eating them raw.
Smaller turnips have more flavor and are used for human consumption, while larger turnips are saved for livestock.
You can identify them by size; anything larger than 3” in diameter and light for its size is definitely an old turnip.
What’s exciting about turnips is that no part of them needs to go to the waste bin.
Turnip greens are widely consumed for their rich vitamin content.
What Do Turnips Taste Like?
Earthy, nutty, and sweet elements are always noticed in turnips.
But the taste of turnips varies depending on the size and how you cook them.
Turnips are winter veggies and taste much better after a frost.
They have juicy flesh and are crunchy when eaten raw.
But when cooked, they become tender, similar to how a cooked carrot feels.
Naturally, young (smaller) turnips are sweet, and you may even find them slightly similar to a carrot.
They are also tender and require less cook time.
If the turnips are small enough, you can even eat their skin.
It tastes sharp and somewhat bitter.
Larger turnips, however, are somewhat woody and smell pungently similar to cabbage and radish.
Large turnips sometimes taste and have a similar texture to potatoes.
So, eating them raw will be unpalatable.
Both potatoes and turnips are high in fiber and add substance to the dishes you add them to.
Also, the skin of large turnips is extremely bitter, so you shouldn’t try eating them, even if just for the thrill.
Cabbages and radishes come quickly to mind when eating turnips.
But they’re not all similar.
Cabbages are less sweet than turnips, and radishes are much spicier and crisp.
Some may compare the taste of turnip greens to mustard greens.
While this is true, mustard leaves are a lot sharper, while the turnip leaves are crisp and a little spicy.
Like the roots, you can eat turnip leaves raw.
But because of the crisp and spicy taste, not many prefer to eat them raw.
They taste better when used as complementary ingredients in soups and stews.
How to Cook and Serve Turnips?
Turnips can replace potatoes well in most recipes.
But they can sometimes be bitter and need complementary ingredients to enhance their taste.
Here are some ways to do this:
Chicken soup: There is nothing as pleasant as having varying textures in a bowl of soup.
So if you have some turnips that have no other purpose in the kitchen, chop them up into bite-sized pieces and let them cook in the broth.
Remember that you can use both the roots and leaves.
Casserole: Another way to use turnips with meat is to make a casserole.
You cannot limit yourself to a few ingredients here, so add as many veggies and seasonings that can enhance its taste.
Mashed turnips: You’ve probably heard of mashed potatoes, right? Taking the help of a few potatoes, butter, and seasonings, you can get a delicious dish of mashed turnips.
If the bitterness of turnips troubles you, you can use olive oil to combat it.
For the roots, chop them, season them with olive oil and spices, and refrigerate them for a minimum of one hour before cooking.
The leaves can be blanched first and lightly fried in olive oil.
Turnips aren’t like most vegetables, where one single flavor describes them.
Instead, they can be sweet or even bitter.
Small turnips have the best taste; they are juicy, nutty, and sweet.
Meanwhile, larger ones taste bitter and aren’t palatably convenient to eat raw.
Dishes like casseroles and soups are better with more ingredients; you can add turnips to these dishes to make them less bitter.
Every part of a turnip is edible so try experimenting with new dishes to find what works best for you.