What Do Turnips Taste Like? A Detailed Answer

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The recent Turnip Festival got you thinking a lot about turnips. If you are a newbie to cruciferous vegetables, you might need some help with proper knowledge of its taste. If you have the question, “what do turnips taste like?”, you are at the right place. 

Turnip - featured

Turnips have a sweet, nutty, earthy flavor with a subtle hint of pepper spiciness. Raw turnips have a bitter taste. The fresh ones have a sweet, crunchy flavor like carrots. However, old turnips have a flavor similar to that of potatoes. The flavor of turnips can be deemed as a cross between a potato and radish.

Turnips are versatile vegetables that can be cooked and enjoyed in several ways. They also have amazing flavor and health benefits to offer us. Their taste and texture can also be compared with many of the vegetables which we are familiar with. Curious to know more about turnips and their taste? Let us get started right away!

What Are Turnips?

Turnips are root vegetables that belong to the Brassica family. It is a type of root vegetable that is also called a cruciferous vegetable (belonging to the Brassica or cabbage family). There are around 23 types of turnip varieties, such as purple top turnip, white lady turnip, scarlet queen turnip and many more.

Turnips are often confused for rutabagas. In fact, in Northern England and in many parts of Canada, the word turnip refers to rutabagas. Turnip leaves are consumed as turnip greens. Small varieties of turnips are harvested for human consumption, while large varieties are used for feed and livestock. 

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What Do Turnips Taste Like?

I am sure this is the most awaited answer you have been expecting. Let me burst the bubble and give you what you came for – the taste of turnips.

Turnips that are young have a mild, sweet, delicate flavor with subtle undertones of spiciness. They have an earthy flavor when they age. Their flavor is often compared to that of cabbage and rutabagas. Old turnips have a taste similar to potatoes.

Raw turnips have an unpleasant, bitter taste. Also, the variety of turnips also determines its taste – small varieties of turnips have a sweet flavor while large varieties have a woody flavor.

Can You Eat Raw Turnips?

This is the often asked question when it comes to vegetables. The same is true for turnips. Turnips have a crunchy texture and you might be wondering if they can be eaten raw. Let us find out.

The point with turnips is that it changes its flavor profile once it gets cooked. Raw turnips have a bitter, unpleasant taste with spicy undertones. Turnips can be enjoyed in salads raw if they are young and not aged much. 

Turnips Vs. Potatoes In Terms Of Taste

Turnips and potatoes are often compared with each other for their near flavor profiles. Let us examine them more closely in terms of taste.Turnips have a mild, sweet flavor that gets deepened when they are cooked. They have a crisp, crunchy texture.

Potatoes have a mild flavor with a subtle sweetness. They are starchy and dense in texture. When cooked, turnips have a mild flavor similar to that of potatoes. That said, turnips and potatoes do not taste exactly the same. The sweet, mild flavor of turnips when they are cooked has subtle hints of potatoes. 

Turnips Vs. Rutabagas In Terms Of Taste

Didn’t I tell you that turnips are often assumed to be the same as rutabagas? These are different from each other, or are they? Let us find out, especially when it comes to their taste.

Rutabagas are also called Swedish turnips. These are a cross between cabbage and turnip. They have a similar taste as that of turnips since they come from the same family. Rutabagas have a mild flavor when they are raw but have a buttery, sweet-savory flavor when cooked. They have a sweeter flavor than turnips which have a sharper flavor. 

Turnips Vs. Radishes In Terms Of Taste

The last on the list of comparisons is radish. Turnips and radishes also are members of the same family, Brassicaceae. So how about their taste?

Radishes have a crispy, spicy, and crunchy taste. The spicy taste is not extreme like that of black pepper. The flavor of radishes depends on the variety of radish. Daikon radish has a mild flavor similar to that of turnips, although they are texturally different. 

What Do Turnips Taste Like In A Soup?

We know that turnips can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. How well do they taste in a soup? Let us talk about it.

Turnips have a mild, spicy, bitter taste when they are raw. This flavor shifts into a sweet tone when they are cooked. Turnips taste sweet and creamy in a soup. They add a natural sweetness. If used raw, the bitter taste in turnip can be avoided by adding a little amount of sugar.

What Do Turnips Taste Like In A Stew?

Apart from soups, stews are another great recipe to fully relish the flavor of turnips. Shall we find out what turnips taste like in a stew?

A stew is made by slow-cooking either vegetables or meat. Turnips can be used in combination with other meat or vegetables while making stew. The raw, bitter taste of turnips changes into a mild taste when they are young. Turnips are sweet and mellow when used in stews. If you prefer the sweet flavor, go for young turnips. When they age, they have a woody, earthy flavor. 

What Do Cooked Turnips Taste Like?

You are now aware that turnips change their taste once they are cooked. What is the deal with cooked turnips, and what do cooked turnips taste like?

Cooked turnips have a sweet, nutty flavor. They have a sweet, simple flavor similar to that of potatoes. You can also notice that cooked turnips have a soft, velvety texture. Rightly cooked turnips will have a taste similar to that of beets except for lack of earthy flavor.

What Do Roasted Turnips Taste Like?

Who isn’t a fan of roasted veggies? Roasting is one of the perfect cooking methods to truly relish the flavor of vegetables or meat. Let us see how well turnips can satisfy us when they are roasted.

While cooked turnips have a flavor that is divine, roasted turnips up the game in a way that is hard to miss, roasted turnips have a crispy, tender flavor owing to the caramelization of natural sugars present in turnips. Roasted turnips have a taste that is deemed as a cross between potato and carrot. 

What Do Mashed Turnips Taste Like?

Mashed turnips simply do not refer to turnips that are mashed. Mashed turnips are a great recipe that is an absolute must for veggie lovers. Shall we find out what mashed turnips taste like?

Mashed turnips are a good alternative to potatoes. These are low-carb root vegetables that are both paleo and keto-friendly. Mashed turnips can be prepared and eaten just as such – alone and devoid of flavors. Mashed turnips can taste bitter if they are quite large. Butter and sugar can be added to mashed turnips along with salt and pepper. 

What Do Pickled Turnips Taste Like?

Next on the list is pickled turnips. If you are a fan of pickles, then you should definitely know about pickled turnips.

Pickled turnips are made of turnips, water, vinegar, kosher salt, beets, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Pickled turnips have a salty, vinegary, peppery taste and an acidic aroma. Kosher salt should be used rather than table salt for a refreshing flavor. Also, plain distilled vinegar gives a better taste to pickled turnips rather than other flavored vinegars.

What Do Salad Turnips Taste Like?

Salad turnips are one of the types of turnips that are nothing like the regular turnip that we know. Let us see what they are and what they taste like.

Salad turnip is a Japanese variety of turnip that is less starchy and has a high moisture content. It can be enjoyed raw or with light cooking. Salad turnips have a raw, crisp, delicious flavor. They have a sweet, fruity, tangy taste that is similar to that of fresh radish. They have a sweet, tender and crunchy texture.

What Do Fried Turnips Taste Like?

Fried turnips are an amazing and healthy alternative to French fries. I am sure you are going to try it out but listen to me first about its taste, won’t you? Turnips are fried using ghee or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Garlic, chives and paprika can also be used for seasoning fried turnips. Fried turnips have a mild, delicate flavor and a crispy texture similar to that of potatoes.  

What Do Turnip Greens Taste Like?

Turnip greens refer to the dark, green, leafy tops of turnips. They are usually discarded before cooking, but that shouldn’t refrain us from knowing about their taste, right?

Turnip greens are broad leaves of turnips that rise above the tuber. Turnip greens have a mild, spicy flavor similar to that of mustard greens. Young turnips greens have a tender flavor with a sweet taste and a spicy undertone. Turnip greens contain more vitamins and minerals than the tuber of turnip. They are one of the good sources of ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

What Do Turnips Taste Like Compared To Other Vegetables?

You are fairly familiar with the flavor profile of turnips. Now is the time to compare its taste with a few other vegetables. Vegetables such as rutabagas, celeriac, parsnips, and carrots are often compared to turnips due to the fact that they share similar tastes.

Although parsnips and turnips are similar in appearance, parsnips have a rich, earthy flavor. Young turnips have a sweet, crunchy taste similar to that of carrots. Older turnips share a flavor profile with tomatoes. Rutabagas, often used as one of the best substitutes for turnips, are sweeter in taste than turnips. 

Different Types Of Turnips And Their Different Tastes

Didn’t I tell you about how turnips have wide varieties? Let me not bore you with all the details – just the matter of taste is what we are going to deal with.

Name of TurnipTasteAppearance
Purple-Top White Globe TurnipsMild, spicy tasteWhite-colored root with a purple top
 Scarlet Queen TurnipsSweet, crispy tasteBright red-colored root with a flat shape
Baby Bunch TurnipsMild, tart tasteCrunchy flesh with tops in white, purple, gold, and pink colors
White Lady TurnipMild taste
White-colored skin and flesh
Gold Ball TurnipMild sweet, almond-like taste
Golden-yellow flesh and skin
Manchester Market TurnipMild, peppery tasteGlobe-shaped, white-colored root

Tokyo Cross Turnip
Mild, sweet taste
White-colored globe
White Egg TurnipSweet, crispy taste
Egg-shaped roots, white flesh
Red Round TurnipSweet taste
Red-colored skin and white flesh
Gilfeather TurnipSweet tasteWhite-colored flesh
Royal Crown TurnipMild, sweet tasteFlattened roots with purple blotch on top

Things To Look For When Buying Turnips

Knowing a little extra about what and how to buy turnips will come in handy when you are preparing a recipe with turnips. Read about it below:

  • Always go for small turnips because they have the perfect, mild sweet taste, which I have been talking about all day. Don’t choose large turnips which have a deep, woody flavor (and blame me or my word if you don’t get the desired taste!).
  • If you wish to enjoy turnips raw as in salads, choose baby turnips. Baby turnips have fleshes which come in yellow, orange and red colors. 
  • The size of the turnips should be heavy and they should look firm in texture. 
  • The leafy greens in turnips, called turnip greens, should be fresh and bright in color.
  • Turnips should be devoid of brown patches, scratches, nicks or cuts. 

How To Store Turnips Properly?

You have a bunch of turnips in hand and imagine the case where you don’t know how to store them. That would be a waste of turnips, right? Don’t worry, for I am going to tell you all about how to store turnips properly.

  • You needn’t wash the roots before storing turnips. In case you do, make sure to dry them well.
  • Turnips have to be stored in a place near the freezer and not actually inside the freezer at 32°-40°F (0°-4°C).
  • Turnips should be wrapped in a moist cloth or paper towel and kept in perforated plastic bags. It can be refrigerated for 4-5 months.
  • Turnip greens can be stored the same way you store turnip roots.
  • For long-term storage, you might need to do a few things. Fill half of a large plastic container with moist sand or sawdust. Place the turnip roots upside down in the sand. This can stay the same for about six months if stored in a cool, ventilated area.

Different Turnip Recipes To Try

You now know about the taste of turnips and the ways of buying and storing them. What to do next? Take it to the kitchen, of course! The following recipes are must-try when it comes to turnips.

  • Lemony Lentil Turnip Chowder
  • Green Salad with Turnips, Strawberries, and Pepitas
  • Parmesan Crusted Crushed Turnips
  • Honey-Glazed Radishes and Turnips
  • Roasted Turnips with Honey
  • Pan-Fried Turnips
  • Ice Water Salad
  • Brown Butter Mashed Turnip with Roasted Garlic
  • Turnip Fried Rice
  • Root Vegetable Gratin
  • Braised Turnip Rice Bowl
  • Turnip and Leek Blue Cheese Gratin
  • Grilled Turnips with Dill Olive Oil
  • Turnip Dhal
  • Roasted Turnip Hummus

How To Make Your Turnips Taste Good?

If you have been into experimenting with recipes for a long time, you know that certain tricks can make your veggies or meat taste amazing. Want to know what makes turnips taste good? Read on more!

Turnip Greens

When it comes to recipes with turnip greens, it is imperative that you wash them well and steam them for about ten minutes. Once the greens are tender, chop them into pieces and get rid of the excess moisture. Add a clove of garlic, 3 tablespoons of cream cheese, salt and pepper and I bet you will fall in love with turnips from then on.

Mashing Turnips

While mashing turnips, add milk, salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar to counter the bitter taste, if any. You can also add chopped apples with a pinch of cinnamon to mashed turnips. The sweetness of apples will complement the flavor and texture of mashed turnips.

Roasting Turnips

Turnips are usually roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil. The taste of roasted turnips can further be enhanced by adding a spoon of maple syrup along with the addition of fresh sage. You can also mix honey with fresh rosemary for a refreshing taste from roasted turnips.

Pickled Turnips

You can pickle turnips in any type of brine – it can be sweet, salty, or savory in taste. Adding a piece of red beet enhances the taste of turnips and gives a vibrant pink color to them. 

Health Benefits Of Turnips

Turnips have impressive health benefits to offer us. Let us read more about that.

  • Turnips are loaded with vital nutrients which have anti-cancer properties. They are rich in glucosinolates which mitigate the risk of different types of cancer.
  • Consumption of turnips lower blood sugar levels and helps them keep at bay.
  • They have anti-inflammatory effects and help in protecting us from harmful bacteria.
  • They help in assisting weight loss, boosting liver function and protecting bone health.

Nutritional Content Of Turnips

In a medium-sized turnip, the following nutritional values are observed:

Fat0.1 gram of fat
Carbs 7 grams
Protein1 gram
Fiber2 grams
Sugar4 grams
Cholesterol0 grams

Final Word

That was all about turnips and their taste. I am sure the article gave you a fair idea of what to expect when you try turnips next time. Turnips have a mild, sweet taste and a crunchy texture similar to potatoes and carrots. They can be enjoyed both raw or cooked. There are a lot of varieties of turnips for you to choose from and they vary considerably in their taste. Let me know how well your taste buds approve of turnips and tell me all about it in the comments section. See you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cooked turnips taste like potatoes?

Old turnips, when cooked, may have a slight resemblance to the taste of potatoes.

What is the best way to eat turnips?

Although it depends on preferences, turnips are best to eat when they are baked, boiled, or steamed.

What do you eat with turnips?

Turnips can be eaten with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, parsnip, apples, sweet potatoes, lemon, and onion. Spices and herbs which go with turnips are chives, sage, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, garlic, and ginger. 

What meat goes well with turnips?

Bacon, roast beef, and turkey go well with turnips.

How do you get the bitterness out of turnips?

A pinch of sugar can be added to get rid of the bitterness of turnips. The blend of chopped apples with a bit of cinnamon will also help in getting the bitterness out of turnips.

What takes longer to cook turnips or potatoes?

Turnips will take a longer time to cook than potatoes since they have high fiber content. 

What root vegetable is known as the Mexican turnip?

Jicama is the root vegetable that is known as the Mexican turnip.

Is turnip keto-friendly?

Turnips are keto-friendly and can be consumed in a keto diet.

What tastes similar to turnip?

Rutabagas, celeriac (celery root), parsnips, and carrots taste similar to turnips. 

Do parsnips and turnips taste the same?

Parsnips have a sweet, candy-like taste when compared to turnips which taste less sweet.

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