Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Survival Foods - Turnips

Most survival foods are ones that are readily available most any time of the year, require only the most basic of preparation and that can be eaten raw or uncooked. Turnips are one of the vegetables that should be considered a survival food. Turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C and are one of the oldest root crops known and have been in use for quite some time. Until the introduction of the potato, they were a staple of European diets. They are also a very hardy vegetable that is well suited for growing in colder climates. While turnips are generally available most of the year, the best ones aren’t usually available until later during the fall months. Turnips are also quite easy to grow.

Turnips, which are actually a member of the cabbage family, can be used raw (shredded for use in coleslaw, etc.), in soups or stews or prepared much the same as you would a potato, basically boiled or baked. Smaller, younger turnips have a milder flavor than older, larger turnips. It’s also important to leave the cover off your pot when boiling turnips to prevent that strong “turnipy” taste that is familiar to most people. To help add some flavor to your turnips, just use some butter, cheese and some parsley or thyme.

Turnips actually don’t store well due to their high moisture content and will dehydrate quite rapidly. They will keep for about 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or they can be dehydrated similar to carrots or other root vegetables.

Turnips can also be used as a feed for livestock.

Got turnips?



Brigid said...

I had a grandmother from the UK. She would make pasties (a Welsh turnover type meat pie) made with beef and carrots and turnips in a flaky crust. Delicious

I love visiting the UP where you can still get traditional pasties in many local small "ma and pa" type restaurants.

I've make them without the turnips and they're not as good. Good advice on the younger ones, however.

riverwalker said...


The younger and smaller turnips have an almost sweet taste when compared to the larger ones...don't really know the reason why though.

I do know that with some butter, cheese and a sprinkling of parsley they are similar to mashed potatoes.

Sliced thin they are pretty tasty raw...but then again I prefer to eat a lot of my vegetables in their
natural form.

Many traditional type foods have been replaced by "fast food" substitutes without the benefits of the good nutrition afforded by their predecessors.

Mashed turnips with butter, a little milk or cheese added, and some parsley do make an excellent side dish.

Not quite the gourmet pastries you have on your site...

Thanks Brigid!


riverwalker said...

To: Brigid

Forgot to mention that some crumbled bacon goes really good with a bowl of mashed turnips.


Anonymous said...

You hit a home run on this. Root vegetables in general are great for survival. Russian peasants survived on beets. When I was living in Europe the farmers would grow huge "beets" that they used for cattle feed in the winter. I think they were called Swedes. They store them in piles covered with hay then a foot or two of dirt.
Try Rutabagas! They are turnips with more flavor.

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