A member of the cabbage family, turnips are a root vegetable that is creamy white with a beautiful purple, red or green hue on the upper area where it has been exposed to sunlight.
Before potatoes were cultivated, turnips were one of the main sources of nourishment for the English peasantry in the Middle Ages. Grown in temperate climates, turnips thrive in cold, damp conditions.
Baby turnips are in season in June to July and have a sweet, delicate flavor. However, winter turnips can be found year-round, although their peak season is from October to February. Their flavor is stronger and spicier than baby turnips. Pick turnips that are heavy with firmly attached roots and clear skin, as well as bright green leaves.
Turnip leaves are edible and can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried or eaten raw in salads. Winter turnips should be peeled with a potato peeler and cut into small pieces to be cooked. They can be boiled, steamed, or stir fried. Low in calories, turnips are rich in vitamin C and also contain vitamin B-6, magnesium, iron, fiber and potassium.