Join me as I show you how easy it is to store turnips and roots for winter, even if you don’t have room in your refrigerator!
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Updated post with new information!
Ditch turnips and our Goldberry.
First Things First
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of how to store turnips and other root crops.
- First, only store the best turnips. You should eat bruised, scuffed, or otherwise damaged roots asap, as they won’t store well.
- Secondly, don’t wash roots before you store them. Instead, gently rub soil from the roots.
- Third. The best possible scenario for storing turnips and other roots is in a cold moist place. You want it to be very near to freezing, ideally 32 to 40 degrees F (0 to 4 degrees C), and 95% humidity.
- Side note: If you have just a small number of turnips, wrap them in a moist cloth in a loose plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, where they will stay good for up to 6 months!
- Second side note: Larger numbers of turnips can be packed loosely in a bucket or box in moist sand, leaves, or sawdust. Leave a couple inches of the packing material on the bottom of the box as well as on top of your roots. Loosely cover with a lid and place in a cool place where they won’t freeze, like in a shop, garage, basement pantry, or root cellar.
- Finally: Remember to eat the roots and when you do, check any other roots in storage and remove any that are beginning to deteriorate.
Now a little background on the matter
Once the temperature begins to drop, we feel the urgency to get ready for Old Man Winter’s inevitable and prolonged visit.
Whereas in lazy summer days, we stroll about the garden, pulling a weed here and taking a picture of the dog here or a notable plant there, la-de-daa-ing in a desultory way. One might even take the time to admire a graceful butterfly or a saucy dragonfly.
In summertime: we’re thoughtful, reflective. Also, usually hot, too hot to move quickly.
Now it’s looking more like fall.
The mornings are cooler now. They bring to mind that first frost, and then the first hard freeze. In fact we know that our days of bringing in produce from the garden are numbered.
So we march out first thing, our mouths set in grim and determined lines. We push the wheelbarrow and carry buckets. We spend the day plucking, digging, foraging, and/or harvesting. There’s not as much time for la-de-daa-ing in the fall.
Our mien: serious. Focused. Determined.
You know what it’s all about, gentle reader, I’m sure you do. Here on the farm, we try to avoid that last and frantic day of picking, digging, and hauling. Our mouths hang open in frantic exhaustion as the air temperature plummets rapidly by the hour, the weatherman repeating those words “freeze warning” every time he takes a breath. The wind whips our skirts up. (And the hems of our pantaloons, if we are sporting them.) We have to find sweaters and long pants again.
We’ve worked very hard to grow all this lovely produce, so we’re not about to let it be destroyed by that first hard autumnal freeze.
This year, we’re ahead of schedule. I think. I hope. Here, now, I’m feeling awkward and unsure all of a sudden, so take a look at this picture of turnips, won’t you?
These babies, planted in the rich soil in the hoop house, got big!
I planted a bed of turnips and so I am harvesting them this week. I plan to sock away most of them for hearty winter eating. Turnips are one of the root crops that will be content in a cool place for months. I don’t have a root cellar, but Bryan has condescended to let me use a corner of his shop (which is unheated, but protected enough to not drop below freezing) in exchange for my spending an hour or two cleaning in there.
These aren’t actually turnips; they are small watermelon radishes, but they can be prepared in the same way as turnips and other root crops.
It’s satisfying and comforting to have a bushel or two of beets, carrots, turnips, and potatoes squirreled away for winter eating, eh? And squash, of course.
I’ll hand over the torch for just a moment now
I’m going to let another writer help me with my post today, so I can make a few more jars of grape juice and perhaps some pistou for the freezer. Also so I can clear out that corner of Bryan’s shop (ahem).
One more thing!
At the end of this post, I’ve attached one of my favorite recipes for how to prepare turnips and other roots, so be sure to check it out. I made this fabulous recipe last night, in fact, adding lots of different roots (as indicated in the recipe) and it went so quickly down my hungry family’s gullets that I didn’t get a picture of it!
So you’ll have to make your own, to see just how pretty and attractive of a dish it is. Peasant food. But, beautiful and filling peasant food.
These lovelies will stay perfectly good for months in cool storage . . . if they last that long!
How to Properly Keep Surplus Turnips
By Taj Singh
If you have planted turnips, you cannot cook all of your harvest all at once, so you might have a surplus of this crop. This calls for knowledge on how to properly store excess turnips so you can enjoy them at a later time.
First, what do we do with the greens?
Once you are done picking all your turnips, remove all the green leafy parts. The green will draw moisture away from the turnip itself, if left attached.
People usually discard the leaves, but don’t! The green leafy tops of turnips are also edible and can be cooked in a lot of ways. They are also very easy to prepare.
After cutting the greens, wash them in cold water, making sure that no grit is left. Shake to get rid of excess moisture. Cut off the thick, tough stem and throw it away. To eliminate tiny insects that might have clung to the leaves, soak the leaves in salted cold water for a few minutes. Wash again in running water and drain.
You can use Ziploc bags or any freezer grade bags to store the turnip greens in your refrigerator. These should keep as long as five days if your ‘fridge has been set at a temperature between 32 and 34 degrees F.
What is the best way to store turnips and other roots?
The method of storing would depend on how soon you are going to use them. If you will be using the turnips in the next few days, simply wash the root, making sure to rub off all the remaining dirt on the skin. Dry them and place in containers or food bags and stuff them in the refrigerator.
However, if you’re not going to eat them all within a few days, do not wash the turnips. Just put the roots in a box in a single layer, and place the box in a dark, cool area with plenty of ventilation.
If you pack the turnips too densely or if you store them in a location with no proper ventilation, premature rotting may occur. Stored this way, roots should last about six months. (Six months, Gentle Reader!)
About the author: Taj Singh is a person who has a healthy regard for food and its life-sustaining properties and has written many articles about such things for Ezines.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Taj_Singh
Okay, it’s me again, and here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare root crops. You really must try it!
Roasting vegetables concentrates the sugars in them, and the light vinaigrette in the recipe is a very nice addition and will coax even your (erm) “particular” eater to enjoy his veg! This dish is so hearty and tasty, it can almost stand alone as a meal, but serving it with a good roast beef, chicken, or fish is awfully nice, too. If you don’t have the plethora of veg that is included in this recipe, don’t despair. It’s a mix-and-match type of recipe and any root crop will work in it. Winter squash, also!
Succulent Roasted Turnips and Roots with Vinaigrette
Hearty and tasty, there's no better side to a roast beef or chicken then a platter full of roasted roots with a tasty vinaigrette! This recipe can also be a stand-alone dish, and makes a wonderful lunch with rice, quinoa or other grain.
Prep Time 40 minutes mins
Cook Time 2 hours hrs 50 minutes mins
Total Time 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins
- 6 carrots
- 3 beets
- 1 whole head of garlic
- 2 rutabagas
- 6 green onions
- olive oil
- 3 Tb red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 turnips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the leaves off the beets, leaving 1/2" stems, trim the ends.
Put beets on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, stirring well until roots are well covered.
Cut 1/2" off the top of the garlic bulb and remove any loose outside skins while keeping the bulb whole. Rub with olive oil and wrap in foil.
Put garlic and beets in the oven for 30 minutes, giving beets a stir after 15 minutes. Check that beets are tender with a sharp knife, and check if garlic is ready by squeezing a clove. If it is very soft, remove, if not bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Squeeze the soft garlic cloves out into a bowl and mash with a fork.
Trim the carrots and wash well, peel turnips and cut in half (or quarters, depending on size) and peel rutabagas and cut off tops, cutting each into wedges. Put all onto baking tray with olive oil, mixing well to coat all the vegetables.
Roast for around 25 minutes, turning the vegetables half way through cooking, and then remove from the oven.
Cut the tops and bottoms from the green onions and put in another baking tray with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes, turning half way through cooking.
Peel the cooled beets and cut into quarters.
Now you're ready to prepare the vinaigrette: Put the garlic, red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper into a small bowl and whisk. Slowly add 4-5 tbsp olive, oil whisking all the time, until creamy.
To Serve: Place all the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately and prepare yourself for effusive compliments which are sure to come!
Note: if you don’t have all the roots in the recipe above, feel free to use whatever you have.
This roasted roots dish really makes the house smell wonderfully inviting! Do try it–you’ll love it, too!
A few more recipes you might be interested in
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1. Gosh, good knives are so indispensable in the kitchen of somebody who likes to cook, and who enjoys chopping up vegetables in a recipe like this one! My favorite chef’s knife is quite similar to this one, and I have a number of paring knives that I use daily like these ones.
2. I’m a little obsessed with these cute vintage tinted bottles and I use them to pour vinaigrette onto the roasted roots, and they have so many other uses as well!!
3. I roast chicken in a Romertopf clay cooker similar to this one. (If you’ve never used a clay cooker before, you should treat yourself to one! It makes perfect roasts, roast chicken, and many other roasted recipes. I love mine!)
4. I have a number of pretty vintage platters that I use for roasted veg dishes like this one, and this one is very similar to some of mine.
5. My favorite salt comes from Redmond Real Salt. If you’ve never tried it, you really should! Click through my own personal link here and you’ll get 15% off your entire order!
6. Are you acquainted with Azure Standard yet? They are an American family-owned family and independent company dedicated to providing you with high quality, affordable organic, natural and non-GMO groceries. I buy a LOT of my produce (the things that I don’t raise myself!) because I know I can get organic produce and exceptional quality from Azure. Check them out! If you become a member yourself, and share with others, you’ll make $25.00 for each friend you refer. Win/win!
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If you found your way to the very end of this post, you are my people and I thank you! If I could ask one favor, would you please share this post with any like-minded friends or relations who might find it helpful? Thank you, and take care!
interesting article, I love turnups and would love to grow my own veggies one day.
Try it! They’re easy to grow!
Oooooh weeeee this roast looks gooooood. Very sound advice about turnips and as ever a mightily amazing and entertaining read
Try it, Anita-Clare, it really IS good!
I do enjoy turnips now, actually I like the taste. That was not always the case, as a child visiting my grandparents, my grandmother would serve mashed turnips and I was not so excited when they were placed on the table. Funny how the taste of root vegetables seems to improve as we age…. nice article, good luck with the harvest.
You know, Chef, I never used to like them, either, but I just love them now! I actually love that slightly-bitter taste that I loathed as a child. Now how to get my kiddos to enjoy them . . hmm . .
I have just realised that I have never prepared or cooked a turnip! I think it might be time to try so thank you for the recipe 🙂
Just pick them up at your local farmer’s market if you can, they’ll be better than the ones in the store!
I never learned to like turnips but I might have to try them again because this recipe looks great. I might try planting some next season and see if they grow in the desert.
Julia, I would be surprised if they didn’t grow in the desert, if you can put some water on them. They seem a very easy thing to grow, to me!
I found your blog link in the HCHE newsletter — remember me from there, back in the late ’90’s? I LOVE your blog and bookmarked it! I look forward to catching up on what you and your family are up to now.
As my youngest (Nathan) was finishing Homeschool High, I began sharing our storehouse of homeschool wisdom and experiences (read: mistakes) in a blog, Guilt-Free Homeschooling. My daughter Jennifer is my writing/blogging partner (when she can find the time), and we have spoken together at several homeschool conferences. Our husbands man the vendor booth while she and I do workshops — such fun!
Of course I remember you! How fun and exciting that you have a blog and from the sounds of it, a budding home business! I’m going to go check out your blog NOW. I’ll enjoy catching up with you through your blog. You know, I’m quite sure I’ve even read some of your posts before, but didn’t realize it was YOU writing them! This is so cool! Thanks for connecting, Carolyn!
I seem to have a hyper sense of bitterness; I tend not to enjoy any kind of bitter veggie, including turnips, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts and others. However, I do love carrots and beets and I find roasting does temper some bitter veggies – especially Brussels sprouts. Maybe it will do the same for the normally disliked root veggies featured in today’s post. So this one will go into my “maybe when I’m adventurous” pile. Anything with an entire bulb of garlic in it is worth trying!
My Brian made chicken stew last night and left it to improve overnight. Of course he used a turnip along with other root vegetables. I live this simple meal. Your recipe sounds very complicated with three different bakings. I’m sure it’s nice though.
I have 1/2 a garden of turnips so happy to learn I can put them up
Came across this recipe while researching the best way to store my mound of turnips. We always like ours boiled with some butter or bacon fat then drizzled with vinegar so this sounds like something we will love. Can’t wait to try it.
Thanks for the information here. Your time writing this was VERY not wasted.
Let the frost hit your turnips and they will be sweet not bitter. My Grandchildren never liked turnips until I cut them like fries ,put olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and oven fried them. They love them better than sweet potato fries they tell me.
What?? I still have a few turnips in my hoop house, and this is what I will do with them. Thanks for the tips!
Hi from the Arizona desert!!
My new husband (only married 13 years) loves turnips, so I have been looking for a way to prepare them that I might like… on top of trying to find a way to store what I bought because tonight is Crockpot Kielbasa and Beef Stew is 2 nights away…. I love veggies but I never developed a taste for turnips, beets or brussel sprouts although I did find a roasted brussel sprouts recipe but hubs apparently doesn’t like them either. Love this blog!!!
Thank you, Karen. I hope this is the recipe that turns you into a turnip lover!!
Thanks for covering this subject. I found it searching for ways to preserve my garden goodies. I inherited a large amount of turnip seed, and find them easy enough to grow, but they are a hard sell around here. I will try your recipe, as well as the ones your readers supplied. The French fry option sounds interesting and simple. Thanks again.
Von, good luck! Turnips are a bit of a hard sell at our house, too, unless some of my older children are at home.