These tasty white root vegetables are members of the cabbage family, brassicaceae. Turnips grow in temperate environments and make an amazing source of carbohydrate for people in the Paleo community (especially those of us on AIP who can’t consume nightshades!). There’s some evidence that turnips have been cultivated since 15th century BC; it looks like it originated in India, where it was grown for its oily seeds (have you ever heard of turnip oil?! Me neither!). The leaves, called “turnip greens,” are sometimes cooked as well and have a similar taste to mustard greens.
I love using turnips in my recipes, like my AIP French Fries and Scalloped No-Tatoes. I also have recipes that include the greens: Stir-fried Turnip Greens with Mushrooms and Almonds is one of them.
Turnips, especially when you eat the whole plant, are chock full of nutrition. The white turnip root is best thought of as a dense source of carbohydrate, which we know we need in a balanced Paleo diet. Turnip greens are very high in vitamins A, C, and K1 but also have at least trace amounts of the rest of the dietary vitamins and minerals. Clearly, if you buy your turnips with the greens, you should eat both!!
Like many of the other vegetables in the cabbage family, turnips grow best in cool weather, so you’re more likely to see them at your farmers’ market in the fall rather than the spring or summer (but there are some cultivations that are available in late spring). Otherwise, you can grab turnips in your grocery store.