The local farmers market finally opened up at its regular ‘summer’ location last week, just up the road. And in the spirit of trying something new (and not that much being in season quite yet), I picked up some turnips to try. Turnips aren’t something I would typically pick up in the store. In fact, I can’t recall ever eating them, let alone buying them out my own free will. They sound like something a talking rabbit in a children’s television show would collect in his garden, or something that would be mushed up and fed to orphans in some Dickensian novel. And as it turns out, those animals and orphanage chefs got something right.
First up- the greens. I just did what I do with every green I don’t know what to do with- and made them into pesto. I blended the leaves with olive oil, garlic, honey, lemon, toasted walnuts and salt and pepper. They are more bitter then other dark greens, so this balanced them out well. And paired nicely with some pasta (as well as some chicken and vegetables the next day).
As for the actual turnip part, I just roasted them, along with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme from the balcony herb garden (and ate them alongside some tumeric-dijon-honey chicken).
According to various places online, some people will also eat this particular variety (Hakurei) raw, like an apple. I tried. Tasted somewhere between a potato and radish. Not bad, but I can’t say I’d eat a whole one just for fun. They can also be chopped up raw, and used in the same way you could use a water chestnut (such as in stir frys)- which sounds a lot more appetizing.