In the UK they have 'nips' which is short for 'turnips', but they are totally different than North American turnips. The UK variety are mild tasting and yellow-orangish. Do they have a different name in America? I don't ever see them here.

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hardlikearmour
hardlikearmour April 9, 2011

I think they may be rutabagas.

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sarah k.
sarah k. April 9, 2011

Your question has made me curious! I was never really much for turnips until last year, when, on a whim, I purchase a couple of bunches from the farmer's market, just because they were cute and I wanted to support the lovely couple selling their veggies. I didn't know what to do with them, so I did what I do to all veggies if I don't feel like thinking about them, I just made a lovely pureed soup after the manner of every single pub I visited in Ireland two summers ago. Onions, celery, butter, turnips, cauliflower, salt, coriander, chicken broth, and cream. Ever since then, one of my kids begs for turnip soup at least once a week.

As for your question, you are undoubtedly wondering how I could have gone so far afield... I had to look them up. I knew about rutabagas as basically yellow turnips. I didn't know that they're sometimes called "swede", and have been curious about this mysterious "swede" on numerous occasions. Turnips, rutabagas (from the Swedish "rotabaggee), and rapes (from whence rapeseed oil), are all brassicas, like cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. They're thought to be the oldest cultivated vegetables, and the various names are used interchangeably in some places. Maybe the "nips" you're referring to are just the local variety that happen to be yellower than the common ones where you now live. I've had some really pungent turnips, but the ones I referred to above, from the farmer's market, were mild and sweet, and made a fantastic pureed soup. I think they're milder if they're kept cool, too. They don't like hot summers, and get stronger and more bitter in hot weather. So get them in the spring or fall

There's some cool history in here: http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/vegetables/turnips.htm

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plevee
plevee April 10, 2011

'Neeps' is/are Scottish for rutabaga which is called 'turnip' in England.
Neeps are usually boiled & mashed with butter & plenty of black pepper. They are wonderful served with haggis and mashed potatoes.

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Helen's All Night Diner

I agree w/ all above. In Nova Scotia they call rutabaga "turnips" as well. So does my local Market Basket (in MA)!

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cookbookchick
cookbookchick April 10, 2011

Buy the smallest, firmest North American turnips you can find and they will be sweet and delicious. btw, in her book "Vegetable Love," Barbara Kafka has a recipe for Oven-Braised Turnips with Garlic (and herbs) that will make you swoon -- it's that good!

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plevee
plevee April 10, 2011

My mind is slipping - actually rutabaga is called swede in England, neeps in Scotland, and turnips are turnips everywhere.

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innoabrd
innoabrd April 11, 2011

plevee's revised guide is correct. neeps are swedes are rutabagas and very much THE traditional accompaniment to haggis, which, sadly, you can't really get in the US because they don't permit the sale of some of the parts that go into haggis...

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