Turnips: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the versatile world of turnips, their health benefits, history, and culinary uses in our ultimate guide to this nutritious and often-overlooked vegetable.

What are Turnips?

Turnips are a root vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli. They have a slightly sweet and earthy taste, with a hint of bitterness. Turnips are versatile in the kitchen, as they can be roasted, boiled, mashed, or even eaten raw. Their leaves, known as turnip greens, are also edible and highly nutritious.

Are Turnips hHalthy?

Turnips are indeed healthy, boasting an impressive nutritional profile. They are low in calories and packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Turnips also contain glucosinolates, compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention.

7 Health Benefits of Turnips

  1. Boosts immunity: Rich in vitamin C, turnips help strengthen the immune system and protect against infections.
  2. Aids digestion: High in fiber, turnips promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
  3. Supports bone health: Turnips contain calcium and vitamin K, essential nutrients for maintaining strong bones.
  4. Fights inflammation: The antioxidants in turnips help reduce inflammation in the body.
  5. Promotes heart health: Potassium in turnips helps regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  6. Enhances brain function: Turnips contain nutrients like folate and vitamin K, which support cognitive function and memory.
  7. Supports weight loss: Low in calories and high in fiber, turnips can be a nutritious addition to a weight loss diet.

History and Background of Turnips

Turnips have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, with their origins traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. They were a staple food in Europe during the Middle Ages and were introduced to the Americas by early European settlers.

What is the Best Way to Store Turnips?

To preserve their freshness, store turnips in a cool, dark place like a pantry or refrigerator drawer. Keep them in a perforated plastic bag to allow airflow and prevent moisture buildup. Turnip greens should be stored separately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

What are the Different Types of Turnips?

There are several varieties of turnips, including the purple-top turnip, the white turnip, and the golden turnip. Each type has its unique flavor profile and culinary uses.

What is the Best Substitute for Turnips if I Don't Have Any?

Rutabagas, parsnips, and potatoes can all serve as suitable substitutes for turnips, depending on the recipe.

What Cuisines Use Turnips?

Turnips are used in various cuisines, including British, Irish, French, and Scandinavian cooking. They are also a staple in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes.

Why are Turnips Good For You?

Turnips are good for you because they are low in calories, high in essential nutrients, and offer numerous health benefits, as detailed in the health benefits section above.

Can turnips Be Eaten Raw?

Yes, turnips can be eaten raw. They can be grated or thinly sliced and added to salads or slaws for a crunchy, nutritious addition.

What Are Turnips Used For?

Turnips are used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to roasted vegetable medleys and mashed side dishes. Their greens can be sautéed or added to salads for extra nutrition.


In conclusion, turnips are a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can add flavor and health benefits to your meals. By understanding their history, uses, and benefits, you can appreciate the humble turnip and incorporate it into your culinary repertoire.

Best Turnips Recipes