Category Archives: root vegetables

Turnips, The Under Appreciated Root

A different kind of root vegetable

When thinking about root vegetables most people are familiar with carrots, potatoes, and onions. There are, however, a number of other root vegetables. One overlooked vegetable, in particular, is a great addition to the diet; especially when you’re looking to eat a rainbow that has more than green veggies in it. This amazingly healthy choice for root vegetables is turnips. This creamy-purple root vegetable is part of the Brassicaceae family and tends to be grown in temperate climates.  It has a similar look to beetroots; with a bulbous shape and large green leaves. Turnips are easily grown on a small scale in a backyard small garden or they can be planted in containers. All parts of the plant are edible, root, leaves, and sprouts from the seeds.

Nutrition in turnips

Turnips are a must have nutrition-packed vegetable for the diet. A delicious and filling low-calorie root vegetable, they provide dietary fiber plus numerous vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Bs, C, K, folate, magnesium, iron, and calcium, copper and phosphorous. Sprouts made from turnip seeds have been shown to have the second highest level of glucosinolates (mustard sprouts are the highest) which is highly anti-carcinogenic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial.

Not only are these amazing vegetables delicious, but they are also versatile and can be enjoyed in different forms. Turnips can be added to stews, grills, appetizers. They can be steamed, mashed, slightly cooked, or roasted and used in the preparation of a variety of cuisines worldwide. Baby turnips are very tender and can even be eaten raw. Braced by their long shelf life, these veggies ideally should always be included on the grocery list. But you may be wondering how turnips benefit our health?

Health benefits of turnips

In addition to their wonderful flavor and versatility, it turns out there is a wide variety of ways that adding turnips to your diet can support good health

Fight Inflammation

Due to the high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids, turnips are a highly anti-inflammatory food. Given the connection of inflammation to chronic health issues, adding anti-inflammatory foods, such as turnips and turnip greens, to the diet is a beneficial way to reduce risk factors for many different diseases.

Reduce the risk of chronic illnesses

Part of the nutritional content of turnips includes high levels of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C provides the body with superior defense against chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer by boosting the immunity of the body. It does this by protecting the cells from free radicals. In addition to Vitamin C, turnips are an excellent source of Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin which has been shown to be beneficial for reducing cancer risk, preventing osteoporosis, helpful against insulin resistance, supportive for cardiovascular health, and it and also be beneficial for supporting brain health in older adults.

Helpful for good digestion

The fiber content found in turnips does a great deal for our digestive system. Fiber promotes good bowel movements and is generally supportive of overall bowel health. Regular elimination, due to better fiber content in the diet, is frequently associated with better detoxification. Fiber also provides pre-biotic content, the food for the probiotics living in our gut, and helps to maintain a healthy system overall. A higher fiber diet means a stronger, more supportive microbiome and ultimately a healthier you.

May help support weight Loss

Turnips combine the advantage of high fiber and nutrient dense (lots of nutrients for very little calories) content. The fiber is supportive for gut health and can help contribute to satiety, the feeling of being full after eating which may in turn help with weight loss. This dietary fiber, found primarily in the roots, can help to boost the metabolism as well as controlling sugar levels in the body. This, in turn, can be part of the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

How to eat turnips

No matter how healthy turnips are the best part is how delicious they are. Here are a few ideas on some great ways to include turnips in your diet:

  • Baby turnips are very tender and tasty, these can be sliced and eaten raw or diced into salads
  • Turnip sprouts are a tangy addition to a salad or can be added to other dishes
  • Sauteed with the greens, some onions and a little garlic, turnips are mild and very delicious
  • Roasting turnips is a great way to bring out their flavor, either on their own or in combination with other root vegetables
  • Instead of potatoes consider boiling and then mashing turnips with a little butter, salt, and garlic. Or you can make a medley by combining different root vegetables and mashing them together
  • Turnips are also wonderful in soups and can be a fabulous way to get a little more veggie (and fiber) into your diet



photo courtesy of jackmac34

sweet potatoes

Super (food) Sweet Potatoes

With Thanksgiving right around the corner the farmer’s markets and grocery stores are overflowing with sweet potatoes.  They’re so fabulous we just had to do another blog post about them.  Today we have Sydney Gallimore sharing why she loves these versatile, wonderful root vegetables so much and (shhh….) she’s even giving us her mom’s delicious recipe.

Fall is my favorite season for many different reasons. I love when the trees are bathed in hues of reds and oranges, when the weather cools down so I can wear my favorite scarf, and, of course, Fall produce. My favorite Fall ingredient is the sweet potato.

Health benefits of sweet potatoes

These delicious little tubers contain lots of awesome health benefits. Here’s a quick list of all the good stuff packed into them:

  • High in beta-carotene and other carotenoids which can strengthen our eyesight, boost our immunity to disease, and help fight cancer. Not to mention all of those antioxidants are great for fighting off the signs and affects of aging!
  • High in vitamin B6 which can help prevent against heart attacks
  • A source of vitamin C, which can help ward off cold and flu viruses, and reduce stress. Vitamin C also produces collagen, which helps you maintain your youthful looking skin!
  • A good source of potassium, which helps regulate heartbeat and nerve endings, which can prevent muscle cramps, reduce swelling, and regulate your kidneys.
  • Contain iron, which helps with red and white blood cell production, reduced stress levels, and helps regulate your immune system.
  • High in fiber, which is metabolized slowly, so you feel full longer; this may help fight against fatigue and weight gain! Sweet potatoes are a great diet food!
  • Low calorie — one average sized sweet potato contains about 112 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 26 grams of carbohydrates. The sweet potato is a true super food!

Sweet potatoes – delicious anytime

My favorite thing about sweet potatoes is how versatile they are. You can scour the Internet and find recipes for sweet and savory sweet potato dishes, and they’re all delicious. Or, pick your favorite potato recipe and simply substitute a sweet potato to increase your health benefits!

My favorite way to serve sweet potatoes is in a soup. This recipe is so good you’ll want to make it any time of year, not just during the holidays. Here’s my mom’s recipe, which is both sweet and savory, and totally delicious!


Mom's Sweet Potato Soup
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 celery stalks, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  6. 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  7. 1 tart green apple peeled, chopped
  8. 1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice crystals
  9. 2 tsp salt
  10. 2 tsp pepper
  11. 3 cinnamon sticks
  12. 3 sprigs fresh Thyme (1 tsp dried)
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. 4 1/2 cups organic chicken stock
  15. 1 1/2 cups organic heavy cream
  16. 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  17. Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche as garnish
  1. Heat oven to 400˚F
  2. Spread the potato cubes evenly on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Potatoes should be a bit under cooked, not yet tender
  4. Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat
  5. Add onion, celery, sugar, and apple and sauté until soft
  6. Add the garlic, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and thyme and sauté for 2 minutes
  7. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil
  8. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are completely tender
  9. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender (or in a blender working in batches) until smooth
  10. Add the maple syrup and whisk in the cream over medium-low heat, until warm throughout
  11. Season to your liking
  12. Add water or simmer for a bit longer until soup reaches desired consistency
  13. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream or crème fraîche
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy

Sydney Gallimore is content manager for Pippin Hill Farm, a boutique winery & wedding venue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Five Awesome Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are inexpensive and nutritious. Commonly labeled as yams (although they are not the same), sweet potatoes are a great addition to your diet needs and offer superior benefits to your health and weight control efforts. Here are some of the benefits of sweet potatoes:

Good for the heartSweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 which helps the heart by protecting the arteries and blood vessels. Vitamin B6 inhibits the buildup of homocysteine, keeping arteries and blood vessels healthy by allowing the blood to flow freely.

Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium that helps reduce blood pressure by eliminating excess sodium build up, promoting fluid balance. Your body needs potassium, an electrolyte, to keep natural heart rhythm and promote normal central nervous system function.

Rich in fiberSweet potatoes contain more than twice the fiber content of other types of potatoes. It can contain as much 7 grams of fiber and is a great addition to any meal. High-fiber foods help you control your weight better because they burn more slowly and efficiently compared to low-fiber foods.

Sweet potatoes have both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers form a gel and slow digestion down. It delays the emptying of your stomach which makes you feel full longer. It helps control weight, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, and lowers LDL cholesterol.

Insoluble fibers benefit the digestive system by providing a laxative effect and adding bulk to your diet. They remain relatively intact as they pass through the digestive tract, speeding up the passage of food and waste through the gut.

Rich in Vitamin AAlso known beta carotene, vitamin A is an important antioxidant. A medium-sized sweet potato contains more than enough of your daily vitamin A needs. It helps the body fight off many forms of cancer.

It also protects the skin from sun damage. Eating the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A helps increase the skin’s resistance to harmful UV rays. It helps repair the damage done by excessive sun exposure. It is also excellent for eye health, preventing vision loss and macular degeneration.

Source of ManganeseManganese is an important trace mineral needed for proper carbohydrate metabolism, promoting healthy blood sugar balance. It helps suppress your appetite to prevent you from overeating.

Manganese is also a cofactor in enzymes needed in chemical reactions for energy and antioxidant utilization. It is also used to treat anemia and severe premenstrual symptoms.

Provides Vitamins C and ESweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins C and E. Both are antioxidants that play a vital role in preventing many diseases and contribute to longevity.

Vitamins C and E are important components in skin and hair beauty products. Sweet potatoes, being rich in vitamins A, C, and E help in keeping us healthy inside and outside.

How to prepare sweet potatoesHere are some of the healthy ways you can prepare your sweet potatoes:

  • Bake on a sheet at 400°F oven for 40-60 minutes.
  • Boil or steam, peeled or unpeeled; 5 min for small-sized and 30 min for medium-sized.
  • Add to soups and stews.

Simon Bukai is the President of VISTA Health Solutions, an online health insurance marketplace aimed at finding affordable health care solutions for individuals, small business owners and the self employed.

photo: Albert Cahalan

Daikon Salad

This week there was Daikon Radish in the CSA share. Sometimes referred to as Oriental Radish, these tasty roots are very high in vitamin C and are also a good source of folate, potassium and magnesium. In addition to the roots, the leaves are edible and are also high in vitamin C as well as providing some calcium and iron.

Daikon can be eaten raw, stir-fried, steamed, or even added to soups. It has a definitive flavor that mellows with cooking. Many Oriental cultures pickle the root and eat it as a condiment.

One of my favorite ways to eat this delicious root is in an Oriental Salad. The tops of the root, the fatter part, tends to be milder in flavor so I use that when making this salad. The bottom of the root is great for pickling or stir-frying. I make this using the julienne blade on my cuisinart.

Daikon-Carrot Salad

1 C. julienned daikon root
1 C. julienned carrot
1 t. fresh grated ginger
1 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. vegetable oil
1 t. sesame oil
1 t. tamari sauce
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted
2 t. ground nori (optional)

whisk together the vinegar, tamari sauce, sesame seeds, nori, and ginger.
slowly whisk in the oils
in a separate bowl toss together daikon and carrot
pour dressing over the vegetables and toss gently
marinate 30-45 minutes
can be served cold or at room temperature


photo courtesy of KoS |

The Turnips Are Coming, The Turnips Are Coming

With the fall season fast approaching root crops are coming into season. Turnips are a great root vegetable and can be very versatile in the kitchen.

Turnips are a member of the brassica family which means they are related to cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and others. Although there is an old fashioned tradition of cutting turnips into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, I think they are far to tasty to be put to this use; far better to eat them. One of the wonderful things about turnips is that you not only eat the root, but also the greens.

The root is a great source of fiber, calcium, potassium and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Turnip greens are high in fiber, folate, iron, vitamin C, and calcium. They are also an excellent source of manganese (an antioxidant which is important for bone health and digestion), vitamin K (important for bone health and coagulation of the blood), and Vitamin A (an antioxidant which contributes to eyesight, tissue and skin health and may help lower your risk for cancer). So all around they are an excellent choice to have in your Fall/Winter pantry. To take advantage of all of that nutritional goodness, turnips can be cooked in a variety of ways: sauteed, mashed, baked, boiled, the list goes on.

My very favorite cookbook for greens is “Greene on Greens” by the late Bert Greene who was a Food Columnist for The New York Daily News. In it he writes about the tonic power of turnip greens,” It must have had some therapeutic effect, for turnip foliage was brewed into potions, restoratives, and pick-me-ps from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century with vary report of it’s good pharmacy. Even today in the deep South, a cup of turnip green “pot likker” is still reputed to be the best cure for hangover ever invented.” While I’ve never tried pot likker as a cure for hangover I do know that when I get turnips I like to use the greens to add extra flavor, texture and nutrition to whatever I am making.

As the weather gets cooler, soup becomes a weekly item on our family menu. Warm and comforting, it’s an easy meal and a great way to use turnips and their greens together. This recipe is based on Bert Greene’s Mixed Turnip Chowder. I simply substituted a leek for the onion, added turnip greens and a couple of cloves of garlic. If you can’t get rutabagas you can increase the turnips and potatoes to make up for them.

Mixed Turnip Chowder

2 T. unsalted buttermilk
1 leek rinsed and finely chopped
1 large rib celery finely chopped
1 pound turnips peeled and diced
1 ½ pounds rutabagas peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 quart vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/8 t. mace (note: I don’t use this)

Melt the butter, add the leek and garlic and cook a couple of minutes
Add the celery and cook a few minutes longer
Add the root vegetables and broth
bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer
Simmer about 20 minutes
Remove half of the vegetables and 1 C. broth
Add greens to the remaining soup in the pot
Blend the removed vegetables and broth until smooth
Return to the pot and add salt and pepper
Simmer another 5 minutes and then serve


photo courtesy of
staying healthy with nutrition, Elson Haas – pp 95, 108-109
Greene on Greens, pp 185, 387