“Really? Turnips can be eaten raw?” That was my reaction to my husband’s Mom when she told me that my Father-in-law eats a slice of turnip with a slice of pear. I knew turnips can be eaten when cooked, but this was new for me. It was nice of Mom & Dad to share the information.
Accustomed to Cooking Turnips
I have been accustomed to cooking turnips because my Mom cooked them in soups and other dishes. I’ve always enjoyed her soups, they are really good. Mom knows how to adjust the basic idea of the soup to fit what vegetables were available to her. This creates economy and variety. Of course, growing up I noticed the variety more than the economy.
We have had turnips cut in chunks and boiled in soup stocks, or simmered in soups; sliced and sautéed with other vegetables, either in oil or butter; and, slowly cooked with potatoes and meat in stews. While talking to my Mom about turnips recently, she shared that she cooked turnips in some of the side dishes that we all really enjoyed. What Mom would do is boil turnips and carrots, then mash them together, season them and add a little butter on top. Yum! They were good, but I didn’t remember the turnips in them. Other things Mom would mash with turnips were potatoes or sweat potatoes.
I’m really glad that my husband’s parents sparked my interest in turnips. Otherwise, I may not have had this conversation with my Mom.
Eating Turnips Raw
The Turnip is a root vegetable and has to be cleaned of the bitter tasting outer layer before eating it. It is also a very dense vegetable and would be difficult to bite if the slices were cut thick; So it should be sliced very thinly if eaten in the raw state.
This new thought interested me enough to go out and buy a turnip to try. After cleaning off the outer layer using a potato peeler; I shaved a few pieces with the peeler to eat. It was pretty good. A definitely strong flavor, yet pleasant, and something I’m sure I can enjoy in many ways.
Now my imagination is starting to flow. One day I may try other ways to serve turnips. Some ideas are: smoked salmon and shaved turnip (or thinly sliced turnip) on cracker, match-stick-sized turnip or shavings in salad, and of course Dad’s pear and turnip slices. My husband had purchased a juicer for me as a gift one day, and I’ve been trying different combinations of vegetables and/or fruits to make juices. We like carrot juice, and even carrot cucumber juice was pretty good. What would carrot turnip juice be like? Definitely something to try.
Developing questions about Turnips
I looked up turnips in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. One of the definitions said: “either of two biennial herbs having thick edible roots eaten as a vegetable or used for feeding stock.”
An Herb? What I’ve always thought of as herbs are the leafy tops of plants. Now I’m asking questions that I would not have thought to ask about turnips, if not for this blog site. Yes, the turnip vegetable is the root of the plant. Can the leaves be eaten as well? Something to research. A word of caution though; I wouldn’t eat any part of any plant until being fully convinced that it is safe. Some plants can be poisonous while some plants have poisonous parts as well as edible parts. Each individual has a personal responsibility to make sure that the food they eat and serve their family is edible.
Playing with our food can be fun. We want it to be safe too!