Sweet, tender organic summer turnips. Not to be confused with the more heavy-duty winter turnip, these are succulent, crunchy and peppery-sweet (a bit like a radish). A very versatile veg, they’re good eaten raw, pickled, roasted or braised.
Storage & prep
Will keep for several days
Storage: Summer turnips will stay firm in the fridge for a week or even two. As with carrots and beetroot, any leaves are better removed or they will suck moisture from the veg. If they’re in good nick, you can use the leaves in stir-fries or wilted into stews.
Prep: Only the youngest, smallest specimens have tender skins, so after washing turnips you will probably need to peel them. For boiling, braising and roasting turnips, cut them into chunky wedges or batons. If you are planning to eat them raw, they’re best grated or cut into very thin slices or matchsticks.
Eat them raw to best appreciate their clean, radish-like crunch, add them to salads or slaws. They can be simply roasted, or braised with a slosh of wine and stock; they take well to a little butter, mustard and lemon juice to finish. Thinly sliced, they’ll be a perfect addition to a stir-fry; cook them fast and light, keeping a slight bite.
The spears will take 2-3 mins to boil or steam. They’ll roast in a hot oven if well-oiled in about 7-8 mins or yield to a griddle or BBQ in half that time. Try shaving them into thin ribbons with a swivel-top peeler and adding them raw to a salad.
Braised & glazed: Peel and cut into stout wedges. Sit them in a pan, on a high heat, with a slosh of white wine, a knob of butter, a pinch of brown sugar and a generous seasoning of salt. Cook until tender, adding a dash of water as and when the pan looks like boiling dry. Let all the liquid evaporate into a buttery glaze in the last few mins and let the turnips take on some colour. Finished with chopped parsley and black pepper.
Stew: The French seem as much enamoured with turnips as we are reticent (strangely this is vice-versa for parsnips). They cook a stew of lamb, turnips and spring veg called a navarin. It is thought the name derives from the French for turnip – navet. The lamb is slow cooked in white wine, stock and onions. The turnips are added in generous chunks, halfway through, and the tender spring veg is added at the end with plenty of chopped herbs. This works well with rabbit or chicken too. For a veggie version use pearl barley or spelt instead. Try this recipe for navarin of lamb and spring vegetables.
Roast: Roast them in large, peeled chunks for about 30 mins until golden and yielding. Pep them up with some cumin and chilli or be a tad more restrained with some fresh thyme, lemon and garlic. Add your flavours in the last 5-10 mins of roasting so as not to scorch them.
Fragrant pilaf with hazelnuts & braised turnips
Don't flinch at the idea of a turnip. Spring or summer turnips are (usually, we are organic!) small and sweet with a radish-like taste. Simple to cook and a revelation. Cooking a good pilaf is all about light but fragrant spicing and gentle cooking of the rice. Placing a tea towel under the lid helps to absorb condensation which helps the grains separate.
Serves 2 - 45 min
Turnips work well with:
Garlic, Onion, Shallot
Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Parsley
Dried fruits, Honey, Sugar