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An Introduction to Turnip
Turnip or brassica rapa, is a widely cultivated root vegetable of the mustard (Cruciferae) family. This white-fleshed vegetable is commonly grown in temperate climates. Since turnip is frost and drought tolerant, it is easy to grow even in extreme weather conditions. Small and tender varieties of turnip are consumed by humans, whereas larger varieties including Rutabaga are grown as feed for livestock.

This vegetable has served as a vital food source in northern nations because they keep well over the winter, providing a valuable form of vegetable nutrition. Fresh turnips are available year-round, with the peak season from October through February. Its green leaves (greens) are often cooked like spinach and often used in a spring green salad mixture.


Plant Description
Turnip is one of the major biennial crops of the world. This cold-climate-root-crop has been considered a source of food for man and animals in both ancient and modern civilizations. Turnips are basically a a deep rooting species, its root can be long, round or flat and colour may be white, pink or yellow. The thin green leaves of the plant are about 25-55cm long. Their leaf margins are coarsely toothed and deeply lobed. Glaucous stem leaves are accompanied by an elapsing base.

Turnips require a cold damp climate to reach perfection. A deep loam or sandy loam soil with a fair amount of organic matter is recommended for its cultivation. It requires temperature between 60 and 65°F for optimum growth.


Brief History
The origin of turnip is not known and it was one of the most widely cultivated crops in Hellenistic and Roman times. It seems that it was originated in Asia and was later introduced to Ancient Greece, Rome and Northern European nations. Wild forms of the hot turnip and its relatives the mustards and radish are found over West Asia and Europe, providing the enough evidence regarding turnip's origination in that area. Since this crop could bear extreme climatic conditions, it became popular in Northern Europe.

Nutritional Value

A rich source of vitamins and minerals, turnips are regarded as a healthy and wholesome diet. Its root contains higher concentrations of the Vitamin C, whereas turnip greens are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K as well as folate, manganese, calcium, and copper.
For a healthy and wholesome diet, nutritionists prefer turnip greens. Following chart itself explains the nutritional count of Turnip greens:

100 g (3.5 oz) of turnip green contains:

  • Energy: 20 kcal/80 kJ
  • Carbohydrates: 4.4 g
  • Dietary fibre: 3.5 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Vitamin A: 381 μg
  • Folate (Vit. B9): 118 μg
  • Vitamin C: 27 mg
  • Vitamin K: 368 μg
  • Calcium: 137 mg.
As a Vegetable
A good source of vitamins, turnip is regarded as a wholesome balanced diet. In any form, whether boiled, fried, roasted, mashed or raw, it tastes well. The juicy and flavorful young turnips are liked by persons of all age groups. It is easy to source and prepare, thus fulfilling all the requisites of everyday side dish. Besides being a comfort food, it is also prepared on special ocasssions. In Turkey, particularly in the area near Adana, turnips are used to flavor salgam, a juice made from purple carrots and spices.
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