Kenda Hettinger, a recent ASU Nutrition Student
Turnips are thought to originate in Asia but are now grown throughout the world. They are a cold-weather crop and in Arizona grown from November through April. They are often thought of as a root vegetable but they actually belong to the cruciferous family. Like other cruciferous vegetables, they are low in calories and yield high nutritional benefits. Both the root and the green leafy tops can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Turnips and their greens have also been used as livestock feed and to increase the biodiversity of farm soil.
Turnips along with their greens are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber. A diet high in both of these is known to lower your cancer risk. Fiber also helps to keep you full longer, which aids in weight loss. This powerhouse of a vegetable is also a great source of many vitamins and minerals. It is packed with manganese, calcium, copper, and vitamins B, C, K, A, and E. These vitamins and minerals are thought to help with bone health, cardiovascular health, immunity, vision, and cognition.
You can buy turnips with their greens still attached or you can buy the pieces separated. In fact, turnips are now bred to either grown full and delicious greens or bred to grow big delicious turnip roots. You can eat either part raw, boiled, steamed, or sauteed. The turnip root is great roasted or in the air fryer. My favorite way to eat the root is turnip fries in the air fryer. Chop them to look like fries, toss in a little bit of avocado oil, season with some paprika and air fry them for about 25 minutes.
Turnips are so delicious, versatile, and nutritious, I encourage you to start experimenting on ways to include this wonderful vegetable into your diet. To find turnips locally use Fill Your Plate’s find a farm product tool.