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Orange turnips are the enlarged underground stem of the plant that grows into a medium-sized, round shape. At full maturity, Orange turnips are an average of 4 to 5 inches in size, but are typically harvested at 3 inches in size for the market. The golden yellow skin is smooth and shiny, and the yellow flesh is tender with a mild nutty flavor. The taste of the Orange turnip is said to be sweet and richer than that of the white-fleshed varieties. The leafy, green tops of Orange turnips are also edible.
Orange turnips are available year-round with a peak season in the spring and fall months.
Orange turnips are an heirloom variety of Brassica rapa from Europe. They are sometimes called Orange Jelly turnips, and more often they are known as Golden, or Gold Ball turnip. Orange turnips are one of 30 domesticated varieties of turnip, and are considered one of the more popular varieties. Orange turnips are recommended for their flavor and texture by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in the United Kingdom.
Orange turnips are nutrient rich, with vitamins C and B6, as well as copper and manganese. The root vegetable is also a good source of carbohydrates and amino acids. Turnips can help boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory benefits. The heirloom vegetables also help with digestion, healthy vision, circulation and heart health.
Orange turnips can be eaten both raw and cooked. The golden hued variety is also ideal for fermenting or pickling, pairing well with beets. Shred raw Orange turnips for a slaw or add to a green salad. Substitute young Orange turnips for radishes. Orange turnips can be sautéed, grilled or roasted. Toss quartered Orange turnips into stews or braise along with meats and other root vegetables; they pair well with carrots. Orange turnips store well, and will keep for up to a few months in cool, dry storage. The roots can be kept refrigerated for up to one week, wrapped in plastic.
In Scotland and northern England where Orange turnips originated, the root vegetables have several nicknames that tend to create a bit of confusion. Two such nicknames, neeps and swedes, are often the subject of debate. In England, the smaller, white root vegetable is called a turnip, whereas in Scotland, they are called “new turnips,” which was shortened to ‘neeps’. The larger, yellow varieties are referred to as ‘swedes’ or Swedish turnips (likely a rutabaga or a cross between a turnip and kale). Though some in the United Kingdom counter that what is referred to as ‘neeps’ is really a dish of mashed or diced swedes.
Orange turnips have been a mainstay in European kitchens for over 150 years. Turnips have been a staple crop around the world for centuries, with cultivation dating back nearly 4,000 years. The Greeks and Romans cultivated several varieties of turnip and the root vegetable was a staple in their diets. Orange turnips are most popular in France, where they are still widely cultivated. This golden variety likely originated in northern England and Scotland in the 19th century. They were first recorded in France in 1854. The golden turnip variety was first introduced in the United States as Robertson’s Gold Ball turnip in 1855. The heirloom Orange turnip is considered one of the best varieties of the brassica species, for both its hardiness and flavor. The roots overwinter well, and can be grown in a variety of environments.
Recipes that include Orange Turnips. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Delicious Magazine||Cauliflower, Swede and Turnip Curry|
|The Kitchn||Radish and Turnip Hash with Green Garlic and Fried Eggs|