My Best Turnips

  • 2 pounds fresh turnips
  • 1 fresh apple (optional)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First peel the turnips with a vegetable peeler. Peel the apple too if you like, but it isn’t necessary, unless he skin is really ugly. Chop or slice the turnips, (and the apple) into the chunks the right size for eating. Fill a big pot half full of water. Add the turnips, apple (if you’re using it), the margarine, sugar and salt and pepper as you like. Cover the pot and simmer on the back of the stove for about 20 minutes, or until the turnip chunks are tender to your preference. Serve hot. Serves six.

Note: The secret to this recipe is the apple. The sugar, by itself makes the turnips better than usual, but the apple flavor gently caresses each chunk of turnip, changing its flavor subtly, but with powerful results. Fred didn’t know they were turnips the first time he tried them. He thought they were fancy potatoes. I’ve put leftovers from this recipe into beef stew and confirmed turnip haters were unable to recognize them.

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Sarah - August 14, 2010

This recipe sounds wonderful. Do you have a recipe for turnip soup without the broth? Maybe use water instead of broth. My husband lost his job and our funds are limited. We go to the food cupboard for food. That is our only source of food for now. I am looking for a recipe for turnips because the food cupboard gave us four turnips and I am looking for a recipe to cook with them in a soup matter.
Thank you for your time.

Elizabeth - September 13, 2010

Thanks for the recipe. I started with this and added in potatoes. Once that was all cooked I threw it in a frying pan with some ground turkey I was cooking with some spices (curry, ginger, and even maple syrup). It tasted great! My husband complimented me on how good it all turned out. Thanks for the starter idea!

Peggy - October 8, 2010

Great recipe! I made this last night and my very picky three year old loved it. Thanks for putting it up. I just stumbled across this website, what a find!

mike - November 24, 2010

dice and cook turnips add lots of butter and heavy cream salt and peppermash or whip fantastic

Ruth - April 11, 2011

I made this, and used it as stuffing in butternut squash dusted with ginger and cinnamon and then topped with parm and mozz cheese. YUM!

Ella - August 1, 2011

Nothing, no nothing, will ever take away the horrid taste of a turnip. It cannot be disguised by apples, potatoes, wonderful beef stew, whatever. Turnips are just awful.

    The Hillbilly Housewife - August 2, 2011

    Thank you, Ella, for sharing your opinion. I love the taste of turnips, but they do have to be young, tender, turnips for me. Otherwise they will be bitter.

    looloo - March 6, 2012

    give this apple turnip a try even add a bit of maple syrup new world if you give it a chance I did and love it.

Johanne Hagar - August 3, 2011

What a shame Ella doesn’t care for turnips! One of the Thanksgiving delights at our table and more like them than not. It may be an acquired taste.

Why not share something you do like and give us a recipe to try, Ella.

M - April 2, 2012

Turnip hating is genetic!

TomR - April 4, 2012

The wife loves turnip greens but she hates turnip roots. I tried cooking them like home fries, just peeled, diced and sauteed with onions, salt and pepper. The turnips got a bit sweet but lost most of the “turnip” flavor. She liked them that way.

There’s also turnip and carrot slaw with a sweet sour creamy slaw dressing.

Could also try making a kimchee style pickle out of them.

Duckie - June 1, 2012

Yes M genetics do play a major part in our likes and dislikes in food but it is not for a certain food as much as it is the characteristics of that food. Like rutabaga, turnip contains bitter cyanoglucosides that release small amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides is controlled by a paired gene. Subjects who have inherited two copies of the “sensitive” gene find turnips twice as bitter as those who have two “insensitive” genes, and thus may find turnips and other cyanoglucoside -containing foods intolerably bitter. With that said that may account for Ells dislike of turnips and at the same time account for The Hillbilly Housewives love of the taste of turnips. As for me I enjoy them any way that they are prepared
Pliny the Elder considered the turnip one of the most important vegetables of his day, rating it “directly after cereals or at all events after the bean, since its utility surpasses that of any other plant.” AD 77–79

    LLRevilo - June 26, 2012

    I don’t doubt that this is entirely possible, but I’ve tasted turnips that were nearly as sweet as apples, some that were bitter, and some (like the ones I seem to grow) that are as spicy, hot as horseradish! Could it be that they’ve just not gotten a good turnip? And, why are some turnips sweet, others not?

      rose59 - June 28, 2012

      To LLRevilo: not sure about this since I am not a gardener, but I believe the type of soil, (meaning the ph, whether it is too acidic or too neutral) a root veggie is grown in will effect the taste of it. I did not do any research of any kind on this, so I may be totally off base. You might do a little research on ammending your soil to make it either more acidic or to neutralize to acidity. That could really help your end product. on the other hand……

Joanne Peterson - June 27, 2012

I don’t know enough about turnips to comment about them being good or bad turnips. I belong to a community supported agriculture farm (CSA) and we have a share and their turnips are typically young. We have made oven fries out of them and they were sweeter, and I have also simmered them in chicken broth with a pinch of sugar and that mellowed them out.

Jim - April 26, 2016

My mother lived on turnips during the depression. She told me, at one period of time, all there was to eat was turnips from the root cellar. She said they were good eatin’, then and now, never got tired of them.

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