What Does Turnip Taste Like?

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In this article, we’re going to cover the taste and texture of turnips as well as some helpful tips for getting these pretty root veggies to taste amazing.

Turnip with stem over white backgroundSave

Let’s get started…

What Does Turnip Taste Like? 

As close relatives, turnips and rutabagas look similar, and they taste similar, too: earthy and sort of like carrots, but not as sweet. However, the turnip, which is a touch spicy, is more bitter than the rutabaga.

The older the turnip, the larger it tends to be, and the more bitter and peppery. The smaller, younger turnips are much closer in flavor to carrots as they’re sweeter.

Turnip Texture 

Raw turnips are crisp and crunchy. More mature turnips are tougher than younger turnips, which are crunchy but tender.

Cooked turnips become translucent and soften up quite a bit, but it would take a fair amount of cooking to make them lose all their crunch.

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Do Parsnips and Turnips Taste the Same? 

It can be said that there is something of the parsnip flavor in turnips, particularly in the earthiness. Still, turnips are more similar to rutabagas and carrots than they are to parsnips.

The spice of turnips is one thing that differentiates them from parsnips. Additionally, turnip sweetness is nothing like parsnip sweetness, which is intense and reminiscent of anise. 

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Can Turnips Be Eaten Raw? 

Yes, turnips can most certainly be eaten raw. Many people like to grate them and add them to their salads for a little spice.

Though you can eat turnips fresh, the most common way to eat them is cooked. This is because cooking can make the sharp flavors milder, which is often preferred. They can be boiled and mashed with potatoes, roasted in the oven with other root veggies or sauteed on the stove top.

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How Do You Get Rid of the Bitter Taste of a Turnip? 

If you’ve got a bitter bunch of turnips, there are simple and effective ways of reducing their pungency. Some of the best involve boiling them.

To a pot of boiling water, add your chopped turnips along with some potatoes. This trick alone works wonders, and it’s easy to do when you’re making soup.

If you’re not going for soup, you can boil turnips with salted water, too. This may not counteract 100 percent of the bitterness, but it should reduce it.

What Do You Eat Turnips With? 

There are some flavors that go better with turnips than others. Bright, savory, sweet and pungent flavors will all blend beautifully with them, so think citrus, rosemary and potent spices. The key is to choose ingredients that are as strong or even a little stronger than the turnips.

This video is a demonstration of a roasted turnip recipe. Roasting your turnips is a good way to enjoy them crisp but soft, and topping them with lemon complements the subtle spiciness. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Turnips
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil

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This is a recipe for vegan turnip curry. It’s eaten with chapati bread in this video, and if you choose to use any sort of flat bread to eat it with, just make sure it’s vegan first. Here’s what you’ll need for this curry:

  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Green chili
  • Cooking oil
  • Curry powder
  • Salt
  • Fresh coriander (or cilantro)

Wrap Up 

Carrots, rutabagas and turnips all share a fairly similar flavor profile, though turnips are less sweet than carrots and stronger (and often spicier) than rutabagas. They’re super tasty roasted, boiled or mashed, but you can eat them raw in salads for a spicy kick. We love turnips in soups and vegan curries. Next time you’re making vegan tacos, toss in some sauteed or roasted turnip with zesty lime and cilantro.

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