In Season: Turnips

“Do you want any turnips?”

This isn’t a question I’ve been asked before, particularly as I sat poolside watching my kids, niece and nephew swim.  “Turnips?”  I listened while my sister-in-law explained:  in one of the open fields at the summer campground she and my brother own in upstate New York, a former hunter had planted turnips to attract deer to the area.  No longer used for hunting, the aptly named Deer Haven Campground and Cabins now had a bumper-crop of turnips. 

Turnips are not something I grew up eating, but I was intrigued by the ugly, misshapen, purplish-whitish root vegetable.  After a bit of research I learned that larger-sized turnips like the ones found in the field tend to be a bit woody and can sometimes be bitter.  The ones normally found at farmers markets or grocery stores are smaller, more tender, and sweeter.  Baby turnips can even be eaten raw in salads, and need no embellishment.

Always up for a food-challenge, I decided to see what i could do with my big turnip.  After peeling and dicing it (I ended up only using the outer, less fibrous part of it), I simply roasted it in the oven with some other veggies, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  The result was really yummy and made for a nice assortment of veggies to serve alongside my turkey meatloaf (it was so chilly and rainy today I was in the mood for some real comfort food!).  The turnip was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the roasted carrots and the starchiness of the potatoes.  If you’ve never tried one, pick up a turnip the next time you’re at the farmers market.  I’m glad I gave it a go!

Roasted Turnips and Veggies

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 – 2 cups peeled, diced turnips (cut into 1″ cubes)

2 medium-sized potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold), diced (1″ cubes)

2 large carrots, chopped (3/4″ lengths)

2 tablespoons diced shallots (optional)

olive oil

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place all the veggies in a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.

Season with rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Toss again.

Roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until veggies are fork-tender.  Serve hot.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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