How to Cook Turnip Greens : Quick and Easy Steps

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Health Benefits

Before we look at how to cook turnip greens, let’s examine their health benefits.

Green turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene which the body uses to produce vitamin A. The importance of these three nutrients is that they work in unison to arrest the development of free radical in the body. Vitamin A, for instance, helps with the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Vitamin C, among others, helps lower the risk of colon cancer.

Despite the health benefits of green turnips caution must be observed when it comes to their consumption.


Turnip greens carry a certain amount oxalates which has the tendency to crystallize in the body and lead to health problems. Oxalates also interfere with the efficiency of the body’s calcium absorption. As such those with kidney or gall bladder problems should avoid consuming turnip greens.

Selection and Preparation

Turnip greens usually come accompanied with their roots. Look for varieties that are crisp, without cuts or scratches and with a deep healthy green color. If you’ve bought turnip green with their roots, remove them and store your turnip greens in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Before you begin cooking turnip greens, you would want to clean them. You can wash the leaves and remove them. However, if you’re going for a longer cooking duration as when you make a soup, you can leave the leaves intact.

Give special attention when cleaning the leaves. Put the leaves in a bowl of water and use your hands to swish them around to remove any sand or mud. Then remove the greens, dispose the water, refill the bowl and repeat the process until you’re sure there are no impurities to remove.

Cooking Turnip Greens

Boiled turnips are an easy dish to make. There’s no need to peel the turnips if you’re going to boil the turnips. You don’t have to cut the stems, but it would be a good idea to snip the tail.

You’ve got to make sure the turnips are boiled well. Otherwise, they would taste bitter. You need at least one to two water changes when cooking turnips to make sure you don’t end up with a bitter taste. If you’re worried that you’ll still end up with a bitter taste despite boiling them well, you can add a potato to counteract the unpalatable taste.

You can boil whole turnips, but if you want to cut down on cooking time, you could cut them into smaller sizes. Cover the turnips when boiling them.

Alternatively, you can submerge turnips in boiling water and then cook with the appropriate heat level to get them boiled.

If you’re cooking large and old turnips -they taste more bitter compared to smaller ones – cook them uncovered so that the bitter gases can escape. Be prepared for a longer cooking time though.

When your turnips (and potato) turn tender, drain completely and turn them into puree by putting them into a blender.

References - information on how to cook turnips - health benefits and information on preparing turnip greens before cooking