If you're unfamiliar with turnips, it's understandable to wonder what they taste like. They're not as common in the grocery store as carrots and potatoes, so it's not likely that you've tried them before. Luckily, turnips are versatile and delicious when cooked properly. They have a crunchy texture and a subtle flavor that is both sweet and earthy. The exact flavor varies depending on the variety of turnip and whether it's young or old. Young turnips have a similar flavor to that of rutabagas and cabbage, while older turnips taste more like potatoes.
Turnip leaves are also edible and can be prepared in a similar manner as kale. However, they have a slightly peppery flavor that is not as mild as kale. Regardless, they can be used in salads and coleslaw recipes for a refreshing twist on traditional salad ingredients.
Cooking turnips is simple and requires little preparation. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted or mashed into soups and stews. When mashed, it's best to add milk, salt and pepper. You can also add a bit of sugar to counter any bitterness that might be present.
When purchasing a turnip, choose one that is small in size and has fresh-looking skin. Feel the weight of the vegetable to see if it is heavy for its size and look for one that has a slight purple tinge. If the turnip is very large, it will have a harsh, bitter flavor and should be avoided.