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Turnips nutrition facts

Turnips are nutritious root vegetables popularly sought after in variety of cuisines across Europe, Asia, and Eastern American regions. This cool season veggie belongs to the broad Brassicaceae family that also includes cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts etc. The roots have been cultivated as staple food during ancient Greek and Roman periods. Although this bulbous root that is widely eaten; it is its top fresh greens that are more nutritious; several times richer in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.

Scientific name: Brassica rapa (Rapifera Group).

Small young turnips or “baby turnips” are called when the roots harvested early and they are eaten raw in salads. Baby turnips are delicate and sweeter; as they age, their taste becomes stronger and their texture becomes firm and woody.

Rutabaga, another root vegetable, is closely related to turnips. Rutabagas are larger, more round, mostly have yellow colored flesh and sweeter than turnips.

Health benefits of turnips

  • Turnips are very low calorie root vegetables; contains only 28 calories per 100 g. However, they are very good source of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.

  • Fresh roots are indeed one of the vegetables rich in vitamin C; provide about 21mg or 35% of DRA of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It also helps body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevents from cancers, inflammation, and helps boost immunity.

  • Turnip greens are the storehouse of many vital nutrients, in fact several times than the roots. The greens are very rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoids xanthins and lutein. In addition, the greens are excellent source of vitamin K.

  • Top greens are also very good source of B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin.

  • Fresh greens are also excellent sources of important minerals like calcium, copper, iron and manganese.

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 28 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 6.43 g 5%
Protein 0.90 g 1.5%
Total Fat 0.10 g <1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g 5%

Folates 15 mcg 4%
Niacin 0.400 mg 2.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.200 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.090 mg 7%
Riboflavin 0.030 mg 2.5%
Thiamin 0.040 mg 4%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Vitamin E 0.03 mg <1%
Vitamin K 0.1 mcg <1%

Sodium 39 mg 2.5%
Potassium 233 mg 5%

Calcium 30 mg 3%
Copper 0.085 mg 9%
Iron 0.30 mg 4%
Magnesium 11 mg 2.5%
Manganese 0.134 mg 6%
Zinc 0.27 mg 2%

Carotene-ß 0 mcg --
Carotene-? 0 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 mcg --

Selection and storage

Turnips are available year around; however, fresh roots are abundant from October through March. At maturity, they are usually two to three inches in diameter and weigh between 60 to 250 g.

This root vegetable usually sold bunched or topped. In the markets look for fresh roots that are small, firm, round and impart delicate sweet flavor. Avoid larger as well as over matured roots as they are woody in textured and excess in fiber that makes dishes unappetizing.

Once at home, remove the top greens as they rob nutrients of the roots. The roots can be stored for few weeks at low temperatures (32° to 35° F) and high relative humidity (95 percent or above). Use top greens as early as possible as they lose nutrients rather quickly.

Preparation and serving methods

Both root and top greens are used for cooking. Wash roots in cold running water in order to remove soil and any fungicide residues from the surface. Trim the top and bottom ends of the vegetable. Peeling may not be necessary if roots are young; however, over matured turnips will have tough skin that should be removed.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Young turnips are one of the favored items in raw salads for their sweet taste, complementing with cabbage, parsnips, carrots, beets, etc.

  • Its cubes can mix well with other vegetables like kohlrabi, potato, carrots in variety of recipes.

  • Diced roots can be added to poultry, lamb, pork etc.

  • Add raw baby turnip slices with olives and cherry tomatoes to make delicious appetizer.

  • Its top greens used with other greens in the preparation of soups, curries as well as in cooked vegetable recipes.

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