Low in carbs, high in Vitamins A, C, K, B9, and calcium, turnips are a very nutritious way to add extra fiber to your diet. Many people are less than enthusiastic about their use, though, because they can often taste bitter.
If this is you, rest easy. In this guide, we will explain:
- How to make turnips taste less bitter.
- How to get the bitter taste out of turnip greens.
- Why your garden turnips may be bitter.
So, How Do You Make Turnips Taste Less Bitter?
The simplest way to avoid bitter turnips is to start with young turnips. Young turnips are sweet, not bitter. It is only when the root is allowed to stay in the ground too long or the turnip is stored for an extended period that it will become bitter.
If you find yourself with a batch of turnips past their prime, all is not lost. There are two methods you can use to remove the bitter taste from older turnips.
Boil the Bitterness Away
- Simply place the turnip roots in a saucepan.
- Cover with water, and bring them to a boil.
- Allow them to cook, tasting occasionally, and adding water as necessary.
- Eventually, much of the bitterness will boil away.
The issue with the boiling method is that much of the flavor and nutrition will also cook away.
Salt and Potato Method (Preferred)
- Place the turnips in a pan of water with a dash of salt and sliced potatoes.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Boil for 10-15 minutes
- The salt helps draw out the bitterness from the turnip, and the potato absorbs it.
- Drain and remove the potato.
- If still too bitter repeat
How do you get the bitter taste out of turnip greens?
A trace of bitterness is part of the flavor profile of turnip greens. Older greens can become objectionably so. If you find yourself with a batch of disagreeably bitter turnip greens, you have several options you can try.
- If the bitterness isn’t too extreme and you have no sodium issues, then adding a dash or two of salt will often help moderate the bitterness. In Asian dishes, you can substitute soya for salt.
- If you are sauteing your greens, you can add a little extra virgin olive oil to your greens. The medium-chain fatty acids in EVOO help disperse the bitter elements. Coconut oil can also be used and adds a touch of sweetness to the greens.
- One other method is to slow down the cooking process. Cooking turnip greens slower allows more time for the volatile compounds that contribute to the bitter taste to cook away. This method is most effective combined with one of the above.
Why are my garden turnips bitter?
There are several reasons why the turnips from your garden may be bitter. The most common is that they were allowed to grow too long before being harvested. Turnips start out slightly sweet with just a touch of a bitter note when young. The older they get, the more intense the bitter edge becomes. Typically, from sprout to harvest should only take about two months.
Before you chastise yourself, that is the most common cause but not the only one. It is also possible that your soil has issues.
Turnips like loose, loamy soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6.0-6.5). They also require soil with high nutrient levels. You should work compost into the soil before planting and use it as a mulch to help maintain the nutrient levels.
If you have any doubts, most cities, counties, and agricultural schools offer soil testing services.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!