Last year was my first experience growing turnips. We planted Purple Top White Globe, a standard American variety. They grew quickly and the greens were beautiful, tasty and nutritious. Sadly, I didn’t like the actual turnips.
In a quest for a turnip I could (willingly) sink my teeth into, I discovered that there are two turnip types: cooking and salad. Purple-tops are the cooking type. Though they could be eaten raw when small, these turnips are meant for the cooking pot.
We replanted Purple Tops this spring and they’re growing furiously. The small mustard-like leaves harvested in today’s thinning provided a spicy salad garnish to accompany our bumper crop of lettuce. For variety, we will also be planting a green-top from Britain called Manchester Market.
Salad turnips are relatively new to US gardens, but they’re a staple in Asia. The seed catalogs claim that these turnips are sweet, crisp and appealing in salads raw. Wow! We just planted a white variety called Oasis. There are red varieties as well (some with red stems, similar to Swiss Chard). I look forward to more experimenting…