My Turn at Turnips

Turnips in the garden always seemed like so much trouble to me. At planting time I tended to lose sight of those dark shiny seeds in the soil, plant them too thickly, then spend the next month or so on my knees thinning them of greens that were just too tiny to amount to much in the kitchen. If I ever got any to grow beyond the size of an olive I don’t remember. So I was relieved when last summer my husband found a boon of hefty purple-shouldered turnips the size of baseballs that our local land trust was growing for the first time
—quite successfully—and had plenty of. Husband loves pickled turnips and finally had a reliable source to make his own. Admire those imported turnips as I might, I just didn’t see them in my gardening future. But I’m here to say I might be wrong. This year my thinning method has been regular, and I have been rewarded so far with lovely white cherry-size turnips that are really fun to cook.
My favorite recipe is from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Her simple one-pot method is to boil the green tops in a kettle of lightly salted water covered with a steam basket of about a dozen young turnips; both take no more than 12 minutes. After draining the greens, toss them with fresh thyme, a little butter, and salt and pepper, mound them on a serving plate and center the little white beauties on top. Or you could do as I did and just drizzle greens and turnips with a little olive oil and add fresh lemon wedges. Beautiful to look at, yes? And delicious! If I don’t keep eating them this way, some of my turnips just might make it to baseball size yet.

7 Comments on “My Turn at Turnips

  1. Wow, great photos of a great veggie. But please add a fork to the next photo of the cooked turnips so we readers can take a taste. They look oh so yummy. And to think I forgot to buy rutabaga seeds this year.

  2. This was a great one to share – I had not tried to grow turnips, but seeing the little one makes me want to try next year.

  3. But you could try for a fall crop. After preparing this dish I wanted more baby turnips, too, so bought enough seed to plant in late July, which should give me some young turnips in September.

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