Turnip is one of the cool season vegetables belonging to the mustard family. It is known to have been used since ancient times. They are eaten steamed with drawn butter or cream sauce. They are also excellent raw and shredded in salads. They should be cooked in a covered pan until tender using only the water that clings to the leaves. Turnips may be distinguished by different shapes and colour. But the most popular variety is of purple top and white globe. This variety has large globe shaped root with an irregularly marked purple cap and its flesh is white, sweet crisp and tender with dark green leaves.
- Turnips are very high in sulphur and is sometimes gas forming. The root vegetable can be considered a carbohydrate vegetable. If eaten raw, they have a high content of Vitamin C. Turnip juice is specially good for any mucous and catarrhal conditions. They have been used successfully in all bronchial disturbances, even asthma. Turnip packs over the chest are good for relieving bronchial disorders and packs over the throat are good for sore throats. Fresh and young turnips can be used raw in salads. They leave an alkaline ash, and have low calorie content and low carbohydrate content. They can be used in most diets.
- Turnips can lower the blood pressure as they contain potassium which is thought to release sodium out of the body and help arteries dilate.
- Turnip leaves are considered good for controlling calcium in the body as all other greens. They have been used successfully in the South to combat pellagra which is a disease caused by lack of calcium in the body.
- Turnips are anti-cancerous, anti- inflammatory and they can reduce the pressure and inflammation on the colon. According to a research, sulforaphane compound in Turnip with its bitter taste has cancer fighting ability.
- Turnips are very good source of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre.
- Fresh roots are rich in Vitamin C, which is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for the synthesis of collagen. It also helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity.
- Turnip greens contain many vital nutrients, several times more than those in the roots. These greens are a good source of B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamine and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and manganese. The leafy tops are also an excellent source of Vitamin K.
- Both, the top greens and the root, can be cooked and consumed. Wash roots in cold running water to remove sand, soil, and any pesticide residue from the surface before cooking. You may need to peel the large turnips which have tough skin.
- Turnips are pickled in many parts of North India. Turnips can be boiled and used as an alternative to potato mash.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna