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A focus of "Healthy Eats and Repeat" is to highlight different foods and encourage you to try new foods or familiar foods in new ways. I anticipate this month's topic – turnips – may be in the "new" foods category for many readers. (Look for a future post on turnip greens.)

While I do not regularly pick up turnips when shopping, there are occasions when it sounds like a good addition to a recipe. For me, they most often end up in soups or mashed as a side. For those who are not familiar with turnips, they are root vegetables like carrots or radishes, commonly have with a purplish exterior and creamy white interior, and can be used raw or cooked. (Tufts University and University of Alaska Fairbanks show other varieties that are grown.)

Nutritionally, 1/2 cup cubed turnips contains around 18 calories, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 1g protein, and is a source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, and potassium.

  • Buy: Look for turnips that are heavy for their size, with smooth skin and without soft spots or cracks. Smaller turnips are sweeter, while large turnips tend to be woodier.
  • Price: Turnips are available year-round in stores, and come into season in Illinois in late spring through early fall, where they will be cheaper than other times during the year.
  • Store: Wrap turnips and refrigerate 2-3 weeks. Turnips become soft after long storage, so use them as soon as possible.
  • Prepare: Wash turnips and with a knife or vegetable peeler, remove skin. Cut into desired sized pieces and use in recipes. Montana State University Extension has a nice step-by-step guide on cutting turnips.
  • Eat: Try turnips raw, roasted, in soups and stews, mashed, and in other recipes you find.


Turnip and Potato Puree (Serves 6)

If eating just turnips seems unappealing, try it mixed half-and-half with potatoes in this mash.

3 medium turnips
2 medium potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Peel and dice turnips and potatoes.
2. In a large saucepan, add veggies and cover with cold water.
3. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 10-15 minutes or until a knife slides easily into veggies.
4. Drain water from vegetables and add back to pot.
5. Add milk, butter, thyme, and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or electric mixer until smooth.
6. Serve warm.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 100 calories, 4g fat, 80mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein

Recipe from: DeWitt Co 4-H "Where Does My Lunch Come From?" series, 2014