What are turnips?

Turnips are creamy white in colour with a lovely purple, red or greenish upper part where the taproot has been exposed to sunlight. Like swedes, turnips are a root vegetable and member of the cabbage family. They're a good source of vitamin C and, before the arrival of the potato, turnips were one of the main sources of sustenance for the English peasantry.

Baby turnips are the size of large radishes and have a sweet, delicate taste, while winter turnips are more pungent and peppery. Turnip leaves or 'greens' can also be boiled, steamed, stir-fried or grated into salads.

When are turnips in season?

Peak season for baby turnips is June to July. You can buy winter turnips all year round, although peak season is from October to February. Find them at your local greengrocer or farm shop.

Learn how to grow your own turnips from the experts at Gardeners’ World.

Choose the best turnips

Choose smaller, younger turnips for their sweetness and delicate flavour. They should be heavy for their size, with firmly attached roots and unblemished skin. If still attached, the leaves should be bright green and fresh-looking.

How to prepare turnips

Baby turnips do not have to be peeled – just wash and slice off the root end. Peel winter turnips, then cut into small chunks before cooking.

How to store turnips

Store in a cool, dry place for up to one week.

Alternatives to turnips

Try swede.