Turnip Greens: They're Tops!

October  3, 2013

Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.

Today: Embrace root-to-stalk cooking to fall in love with a new green, and reduce vegetable waste at the same time!

Everything You Need to Know About Turnip Greens, from Food52

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Turnips are underrated, perhaps because you've all had bad experiences with oversized turnips that were tough and woody (we've been there, too). But they're too often neglected at the market, and you should give them another shot. Pick the ones that are heavy for their size and tennis-ball-sized or smaller -- they'll be sweeter than you're used to and ready for a myriad of dishes. 

And they have a hidden bonus: their tops. Separate them from the roots, store them in the refrigerator in plastic bags, and make sure to put them to good use. Prep is easy -- just wash the greens really well (remember, no salad spinner required!), remove the stems, and chop or tear them up. 

More: Beets want you to use their greens, too

Young turnip tops tend to be sweeter and can be tossed in a salad, otherwise you’ll likely want to cook them. Use turnips tops in comforting staples like beans, gratinssoups, and stews. Turn them into a pesto to use on pasta or potato salad. Or try them fermented, as Asian-style pickles. Happily eat your greens all week long with these ideas:

Friday: Turnip Greens Cooked in Rich Pork Stock
Saturday: Turnip Green Gomae 
Sunday: Turnip Green Tart 
Monday: Turnip Greens Colcannon  
Tuesday: Arroz de Nabiças e Cenoura (Turnip Greens and Carrot Rice) 
Wednesday: Turnip Greens, Fennel, and Sweetgrass Salad 
Thursday: Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Turnip Greens and Blue Cheese 

Photo by James Ransom

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I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.