Seed Spotlight: Salad Turnips, Kohlrabi, and Celeriac

November 29, 2018

In the Seed Spotlight Series we highlight different varieties of delicious local food that's currently in season, featuring information on their storage, nutritional benefits, preservation methods, and recipes.

Salad Turnips

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Salad turnips are also called Hakurei or Tokyo turnips. Like all turnips, they are a member of the Brassica family. They have crisp, delicious raw flavor with edible greens. Unlike other turnip varieties, they do not need to be cooked.  They are sweet, with an even-textured density and the flavor pairs well with a variety of different food items. Eat them raw (just whole, or chopped/grated in salads), make a quick pickle, or cook with their greens to enhance their natural sweetness. You can even boil or steam them and puree or mash them to make a fun mashed potato substitute that is slightly sweeter and more flavorful.

The turnip's root is high in vitamin C. Their leaves are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are also high in lutein.

Turnips should be stored unwashed in plastic bag in hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Store greens separately wrapped in damp towel or plastic bag - use them as soon as possible. To preserve salad turnips, freeze in cubes or fully cooked and mashed.   To do so: cut off tops, wash and peel. Cut in cubes to blanch or in large chunks to cook and mash before freezing.  Cubes blanch in 2 minutes. To mash, cook in boiling water until tender. Drain, mash or sieve. Cool. Leave ½ inch headroom for either

Kohlrabi

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Also known as German turnip or turnip cabbage, kohlrabi is a squat relative of cabbage. It may be sold with the leaves on or off, but its most used part is its bulbous stem.To use kohlrabi, peel away the tough outer skin and remove and fibrous parts of the plant. It can be eaten raw and shredded in slaws, salads, or fritters. It can be baked like homefries, steamed in chunks, or stir fried, roasted, or used to make risotto. Both the greens and bulb are often used in Indian cuisine, and the stem is is popular in Hungary, Germany, northern France, Italy, Russia and Asia.

 Kohlrabi is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-vitamins. It also contains copper, manganese, iron, potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, and is rich in antioxidant compounds like phytochemicals and carotenes as well.

 Kohlrabi can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks when kept in perforated plastic. Some recommend removing the greens from the bulb prior to storing.  Kohlrabi can be preserved by peeling, blanching, cutting into chunks or shredding, and freezing.

Celeriac

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This veggie is not a looker, but it sure is good! Celeriac is also known as turnip rooted celery, celery root, or knob celery. However, it is not related to turnips, and is instead a type of celery grown for is bulbous storage root. It is popular in Northern Europe and the Mediterranian basin, where it was first cultivated. It even made an appearance in Homer's Odyssey as selinon

Celeriac is edible raw or cooked. It can be stewed, roasted, or mashed, or sliced and used in salads, slaw, or as a garnish. Its flavor is mild and similar to that of celery or parsley.

Celeriac is low in calories, but high in fiber, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins C, K, and B6.  

Celery root is naturally a storage vegetable and can be kept for up to six months if the top leaves are trimmed and it is kept between 32 F and 41 F. 

Recipes

Purple Power Winter Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Kohlrabi Carrot Fritters with Avocado Cream Sauce

Basic Mashed Turnips (with some optional frills)

Turnip and Arugula Salad

Celery Root Tartare with Smoked Trout

Celeriac "Pasta" with Chard and Garlic

Hannah Grose

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