Turnips are smooth skinned root vegetables belonging to the cabbage family, with a crunchy feel and slightly bitter taste. This bulbous vegetable at one time was not considered ideal for human consumption. However, with advent of technology, so many different hued turnips are now available in the market, ranging from light purple skins to reddish, pearl white and even yellow colored variety and high in nutrition too. Turnips are similar to rutabagas and Swedes in appearance, which can substitute the original. Today, many cultures have started including the healthy turnip recipes in their cuisine.
History of Turnip Recipes
Turnips are believed to have been around since the Greek and Roman civilizations. Though there is no authentic records showing the origin, wild form of turnips were found growing along with radish and mustards in West Asia and Europe. So, certain studies state that these could be the regions of origin of this vegetable. Turnip recipes were probably first created in these locations and slowly caught on the fancy of other cultures. Today, it is understood that there are many health benefits of consuming turnips.
Culinary Uses of Turnips
Turnips, at one time were not considered fit for human consumption. In fact, these were used more as animal fodder. However, over the years this root vegetable found its place in the culinary world in the form of salads, coleslaw, added to juices along with other vegetables such as carrots, added to meat dishes, stir fried in some cuisines and also pickled by some. Today, if one were to look up the list of most important vegetable inclusions in our diet, we are sure to find turnips.
Popular Turnip Recipes of Various Cuisines
Turnips have been around since the ancient Romans; however, its use for the purpose of consumption came into existence in the Middle East. This multi-hued vegetable was and is used in various turnip recipes such as Salgam, a popular refreshing juice of turnips and carrots spiced in the Middle East which is spiced with certain spices and served chilled. Other popular turnip recipes are –
- Middle Easterne Cuisine – Pickled Turnips is a delicious turnip recipe of this cuisine, which is enjoyed by a lot of people. In fact, the easy to make accompaniment goes well with most of the cuisines. Turnips are pickled in combination with beets, and hot peppers in pickling solution. Another popular turnip recipe of this cuisine is Mashed Rutabaga.
- Indian Cuisine – Turnips are also known as Shaljam in India. One very popular turnip recipe of this cuisine is Shaljam Salan (Turnip Curry) with Kachomar Salad. This gravy dish is made with a combination of various Indian spices and sliced turnips cooked to perfection in the gravy. The dish goes well with chapattis and even rice. Another popular Indian turnip recipe is Shaljam Kebob.
Similarly, there are many more delicious turnip recipes of various cuisines that one can try, especially in American and European, whether it is Fillet Pork with Turnip and Figs, Chicken Breast stuffed with Haggis and Potato Rosti and turnip sauce or Marinated Roast Duck with Beetroot Compote and Baby Turnips, and many more such delectable turnip recipes.
Health Benefits of Turnips and Turnip Recipes
Turnips are a rich source of vitamin C, which is very good for eyes. In fact, some turnip recipes also use the green turnip tops as well in the dish and these greens are very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and calcium. Turnips also contain potassium and iron. These vegetables are also a good source of lutein, a kind of carotene, which is essential for the protection of the retina of the eyes.
Turnips were used as vegetable charge in heraldry, a way to distinguish armored knights on the battlefield. This system soon gained importance and heralding design called “blazoning” came into existence.
Turnip lanterns have been popular since the first Halloween festival in Scotland and Ireland. They are still in use.