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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.

References:

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