Roots are excellent roasted, in soups and maintain a nice crunch when pickled. Turnip greens are also edible. In fact, they’re delicious sauteed with garlic.
Baby turnips as well as full sized are available both with and without greens. Look for turnips that have firm roots. If sold with greens, be sure the greens are crisp and fresh, not limp and wilted. Large turnips tend to be more fibrous and woody.
Remove greens from the root and store separately. Both greens and roots can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Greens should be used within one or two days but roots can store up to two weeks.
Tokyo turnips are one my favorite varieties as they tend to be smaller and more tender. They also have a more mild flavor. Purple Top varieties tend to be larger, with purple tops, and often confused with rutabagas. Scarlett Queens tend to have more of a kick like other spicy Brassicas.
Turnips are thought to be one of the world’s oldest domesticated root vegetables. Related to the mustards like radishes and broccoli, these vegetables can have a mild flavor or more spice, depending on the variety and size. Turnips are common in Asian cuisines, often found in soups and the classic Chinese savory turnip cake. The greens are also edible and can be used much like spinach or kale.
When I have turnips, I usually treat the tops and bottoms as two different vegetables. The greens are delicious tossed with a rice pilaf or pasta dish. They’re also great wilted in a grain bowl or noodle bowl. As for the root, I have a small weakness for roasted root vegetables and purees. Larger turnip roots also hold up well when grilled, which also brings out their sweetness.