I wasn't sure what I would be writing about this week so as luck would have it, this past weekend I just happened to pick up a few turnips from the Cabbage Hill Farm table at the John Jay Farm Market. I was up to see my vegan-buddy and former Throwdown competitor JL Fields doing a cooking demo. After picking up my CSA box from the Gaia's Breath Farm table - and doing a little friendly heckling of JL, I was headed home with my bag of goodies!
On Sunday afternoons I usually get an email from my Mother asking me what I picked up at the market over the weekend. When I said turnips she was very excited, saying that she loved eating and cooking with them. She also said my Grandmother would remark occasionally how much she hated them because her mother and grandmother cooked them all the time. No surprise to me as my Grandmother came from a very large Irish family in Pittsburgh. Turnips, while probably inexpensive back then too, were almost surely associated with the Irish Potato Famine for her as well. During that part of their history many survived on just turnips and cabbage.
Turnips can be grown easily, even in the least favorable soil, resist frost and last over the winter. They can be made into stews, roasted or pureed. The good news is that turnips are chock full of vitamins and minerals. While they were not prized food during famines and hard times, they did provide many nutrients for people. Both the root and tops are completely edible. The tops, or greens, have even more nutrients than the bottoms. Vitamins A, B, C, K and Folic Acid top the list. Turnips date back to the 7th century BC in written form, although there doesn't seem to be any archeological evidence. They officially make an appearance in the first century AD. Noted even back then as being able to "prevent famine in humans."
I only picked up the roots this week so I'll save the tops for another post. I also didn't have much time for experimentation so after a little internet and cookbook surfing I got a few ideas for my pretty little turnips to share with you.
To read the rest of my blog post and to see my easy recipes using turnips click here.