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Autumn is an ideal time to savor the flavors of root vegetables, including turnips. Turnips belong to the cabbage family, and most often resemble their cousins, rutabaga and kohlrabi. They have a mild flavor and texture like potatoes, thus are delicious boiled and mashed or oven roasted. They're also ideal for soups, stews and casseroles.

Turnips are a bonus vegetable, containing two ingredients packed in one. Not only are turnips grown for their root, they're also grown for their greens, and it's a pity to use one and not the other. Turnip greens are delicious sautéed and drizzled with a squeeze of lemon juice and dash of salt and pepper. They also go well in soups or boiled and flavored with a ham hock.

Look for turnips that have smooth skins without soft spots. Small or medium sized turnips tend to be sweeter and less bitter. If you're lucky enough to purchase or grow the whole vegetable, store the greens separate from the root. Turnips contain more water than other root vegetables and will deteriorate more quickly. They will last approximately one week stored in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

Turnips are a low calorie addition to a healthy meal plan. One cup of chopped turnips contain about 36 calories and provide roughly 35% of your daily vitamin C needs. The greens are even better; they are loaded with vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, folate and iron. It's time to stop letting other root vegetables, like potatoes and squash, have all the spotlight. Share the stage and let turnips enter the scene!

Oven Roasted Turnip Fries (Printable PDF)

2-3 (or 1 lb.) medium turnips, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss turnips in oil. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, paprika, onion powder and pepper. Sprinkle seasonings over turnips and toss. Spread onto greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Bake until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, about 20-25 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 210 calories, 4 grams fat, 5 milligrams sodium, 42 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber, 3 grams protein