Growing Turnips

This year I planted turnips in the garlic bed, just to fill the space at the end of the row and because I had never eaten turnips – except in stews, and bought in those prepacked soup mix packs from Woolworths, the ones that have a couple each of carrots, celery, a potato, onions and a large turnip.
After the very pleasant discovery of beetroot I thought that turnips may provide the same surprise so planted enough to keep us in them for one to two meals per week for a while.
They have grown really well, produced very lush leaves which can be eaten and the turnips can be eaten from quite a small size.
All the oldies (that is anyone older than me) thinks of them as pig food but we have discovered that they are a great thing to grow. Easy, taste good (as usual much better than the shop bought ones) and sit in the ground getting bigger while waiting to be eaten. And they are growing at a time when I don’t have much else except radish growing. They are nearly as fast as radish to grow. We have baseball size turnips in the time it has taken the fennel and carrots to get to nearly big enough to eat.
The turnips went in the ground at the same time as the garlic, carrots, fennel and radishes, each in between rows of garlic.

Cooking Turnips

We have tried roasting, mashing, frying in soups, and casseroles. The favourite recipe so far is caramelised.

Caramelised Turnips

Great with duck or silverside, liked by all and very easy.


  • 6 young turnips, cut into 1/8s
  • Enough water to just cover
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 1tbs vinegar
  • 15 g butter, or more as needed
  • 25 g white sugar


  1. Place the turnips into a skillet with the water, vinegar and stock powder over medium heat, and simmer covered until the the turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Test for tenderness, hopefully the water will have evaporated if not pour out the excess liquid and toss until the turnips are dry. (can also be cooked in the microwave with much less water)
  2. In the fry pan stir in the butter and toss until coated, and sprinkle on the sugar. Gently tossing the turnips until the butter and sugar cook into a brown, sticky coating on the turnips. Serve hot

Mashed Turnip Bake

Ingredients (in the following proportions or something similar)

  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk (or sour cream, cheese, cream)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Cook turnips and potatoes unitl tender – either in a saucepan or microwave. Remove from heat, and drain.
  3. Mash together (or put through a potato mincer, but lumpy is fine as there is a bit more texture) with, 2 tablespoons butter, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer turnip mixture to a small baking dish. Dot with remaining butter. Cover loosely, and bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cover, and continue baking on fan grill, until lightly browned.

Turnip Greens Salad


For Vinaigrette:

¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs water
1 tbs honey or maple syrup
1 vegetable stock powder (vegetta)

For Salad:

1 bunch turnip tops, radish tops or beetroot tops or a combination
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup red onion, sliced
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
¼ cup sultanas, raisins chopped apricots, dates or other dried fruit


Slice leaves very thinly.

Roast seeds in fry pan and put aside.

Heat dressing in large fry pan, add fruit and toss in thinly sliced leaves and turn off heat. Put in serving bowl and add toss with onion,  sprinkle with seeds and avacado.


Turnip Greens

This is simply the same as above except that I use palm sugar, omit the avocado and onion, cook it for a bit longer and add about 100g of cream cheese to make a creamy side dish to have with steak.

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