Category Archives: sprouts

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

Indoor Onions

Just a short post today.  I recently found out that a number of my friends didn’t know this super simple trick for growing spring onions (some folks call them green onions) indoors.  So I thought I’d share.

Trim off any wilted or slimy bits from the onion.
Cut the ends so that there is at least 1″ of white bulb above the roots.
Place root end down into a glass with a little water at the bottom.
Place in a window where they will get indirect sunlight.
Watch them grow, cut and use as needed.

Here are a couple of pictures to demonstrate:

freshly cut spring onions
spring onions after one day

Isn’t that cool?  I find it’s best the first time you let them re-grow.  After that it doesn’t always work as well and they’re not as firm.  But it’s a great way to always make sure you have some on hand, especially if you use these onions a lot.  And I do.
So what do I use them for?  Soups, salads, as a garnish, in sauteed greens, in stir fry, they’re very useful, high in vitamin K, and a tasty addition to a lot of dishes.

Note:  Thanks to Mike for the reminder.  I forgot to mention in the instructions that you need to change the water daily.  Otherwise the jar gets rather stinky and the onions won’t continue to grow.

Sprouted Flours

sprouted spelt and chia bread | photo:  wattle12

I recently received a question from Hope who wanted to know about sprouted flours (specifically spelt) and how to use them.

Sprouted flours are a very healthy way to go.  Sprouting essentially deactivates some of the enzymes that can interfere with nutrient absorption.  The grains are sprouted, dried at very low heat, and then ground into flour.  If you do not own a mill (I like both the Blendtec and WonderMill) you can purchase sprouted flours from a number of different sources.

Sprouted flours can be easily interchanged with traditional flours one for one.  There is a difference between the fiber content so if you are switching it for all-purpose flour you’ll need to make some adjustments to the moisture content as well as to how long it may take to rise.

Regarding her question about spelt specifically, it is a grain similar to wheat but lower in gluten content.  Some people who do not digest wheat well find spelt to be an acceptable alternative.  For those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, spelt still needs to be avoided as it does contain gluten.

To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company has some delicious looking recipes on their website which specifically call for sprouted flours.

Grinding Flour

Claire wrote in and asked, “I have a question re: grinding your own flours out of grains, say brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, etc. When you do it, do you soak the grains/beans before you grind it? I soak everything over night (my grains, beans and nuts) before I cook it. I learned this from my Natural Chef class as soaking deactivates the phytic acid that acts as enzyme inhibitors and makes it more digestable. Cooking alone helps to some extent, but not as good as soaking. I am just wondering if I do soak it first, do I need an extra step, say, using a dehydrator to dry it before I grind it.

The reason I’d like to get the model Super 5200 from Vitamix, is that in addition to a wet container that’s good for processing wet goods, there is an additional dry container that has a special set of blades that are designed for grinding flours. Then it follows that do I need to also get a dehydrator before I can even grind it?”

I’ll start by saying that yes there is another container that can grind grains and beans into flours.  I use a Wondermill which does a great job and can grind to several different levels of fineness.  You cannot grind wet or oily items (flax seeds, wet sprouts, nuts, etc.) in the electric version.

As far as soaking goes there are a few different ways to do it.  The first is to soak, dry (either in a dehydrator or in an oven set to very low temp for a long time) and then grind.  Another is to sprout, dry and then grind.  The picture above shows flour made from sprouted wheat and sprouted spelt; you can see that the texture is no different than if you use the whole grain.  The third is to grind your grains into flour and then soak the flour overnight before using it, this is the method that I use most.  Any of these methods will work well, it’s up to you to determine if you want to use the oven method or purchase a dehydrator.

Using fresh ground flour is an excellent idea because many nutrients are stripped out by commercial processing.  Additionally, if you use fresh ground flour you are getting the full benefit of the germ, which is where all of the beneficial oils are.  It is important to note that using fresh ground flour may require a modification to your recipe because the extra fiber can retard the rise of gluten (requiring a longer rise time or the addition of leavening agents such as vital wheat gluten, lecithin, ascorbic acid or others) and the moisture content may change as the fiber soaks up more liquid.

There are several excellent books that deal with whole grain flours:


Thanks for your question, I hope this helps.

photo courtesy of Jaaq | Wikimedia Commons