Scientific Name and Common Name

Brassica rapa
Turnip, White Turnip, Purple-top, White-Globe, Golden Globe, Scarlet Ohno Revival


The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, whitish purple, or pink bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock.

The most common type of turnip is mostly white-skinned apart from the upper 1–6 centimeters, which protrude above the ground and are purple, red, or greenish wherever sunlight has fallen. This above-ground part develops from stem tissue, but is fused with the root. The interior flesh is mostly entirely white, or pinkish depending on the variety. The whole root is roughly conical, but can be occasionally tomato-shaped, about 5–20 centimeters in diameter, and lacks side roots. The taproot (the normal root below the swollen storage root) is thin and 10 centimeters or more in length; it is trimmed off before marketing. The leaves grow directly from the above-ground shoulder of the root, with little or no visible crown or neck (as found in rutabagas).


Nutritional and Medicinal

Information, Recipes and Cooking tips

Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip greens” (“turnip tops” in the UK), and they resemble mustard greens in flavor. Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern US cooking, primarily during late fall and winter. Smaller leaves are preferred; however, any bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water, or simply cooking down. Varieties specifically grown for the leaves resemble mustard greens more than those grown for the roots, with small or no storage roots. Varieties of B. rapa that have been developed only for use as leaves are called Chinese cabbage. Both leaves and root have a pungent flavor similar to raw cabbage or radishes that becomes mild after cooking.

Turnip roots weigh up to about 1 kilogram, although they can be harvested when smaller. Size is partly a function of variety and partly a function of the length of time that the turnip has grown. Most very small turnips, also called baby turnips, salad turnips, spring or new turnips are specialty varieties. These are available when freshly harvested and do not store particularly well. Where as hardy globe turnips have excellent storage ability.

Turnips as a root crop grow best in cooler weather;  hot temperatures cause the roots to become woody and bad-tasting. Most farmers grow them in the Spring and the Fall, but some salad turnips can be grown year round depending on the micro climate. Most baby turnips can be eaten whole, and that includes their leaves. Baby turnips come in yellow-, orange-, and red-fleshed varieties as well as white-fleshed. Their flavor is mild, so they can be eaten raw in salads like radishes.

Nutrition Information-

Turnip greens
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
84 kJ (20 kcal)
4.4 g
Dietary fiber
3.5 g
0.2 g
1.1 g
Vitamin A equiv.
381 μg (42%)
Folate (Vit. B9)
118 μg (30%)
Vitamin C
27 mg (45%)
Vitamin K
368 μg (350%)
137 mg (14%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database


In Turkey, particularly in the area near Adana, turnips are used to flavor şalgam, a juice made from purple carrots, turnips and spices served ice cold. In the Middle East as Lebanon , turnips are used as pickles. In Asian countries turnips are part of an assortment of vegetables which are easily pickled or fermented.

The Macomber turnip is featured in one of the very few historic markers for a vegetable, on Main Road in Westport, Massachusetts.

In Iran, it is used for fever to reduce body temperature. 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.


Pan Roasted Turnips

Kashmiri-Style Kidney Beans with Turnips
Recipe provided by www.Allrecipes.com; Recipe submitted by: Priyanka.

  • 2 turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri garam masala

1.  Place turnips into a saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the turnip is soft, about 5 minutes. Once tender, stir in the kidney beans, and cook 5 minutes more.
2.  Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty. Finally, stir in the paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons water; cook 2 minutes more.
3.  Add the tomato mixture to the turnips, and simmer 10 minutes. Season with garam masala before serving.