November 8, 2007 at 10:42 am 10 comments

Hakurei Turnips in the ground 

Alright, I’ll be honest here folks.  The creative juices just aren’t flowing today.  It might have something to do with the celebratory scotch last night, or it might have to do with my long-time-coming admission to myself that I just don’t like turnips all that much.  Yep, you heard me right.  I don’t like cooked turnips.  I tried and I tried.  I roasted them. I put them in soup.  I put them in potpie (which I do admit wasn’t all that bad).  I fried them.  And now I’ve finally mashed them with roasted garlic.  If roasted garlic can’t endear them to my taste buds, nothing can. 

Oddly enough, I don’t mind them raw.  On a good day, I might even crave them in a salad.

Scarlet Queen Turnips

It’s a shame really that cooked turnips and I can’t get along.  The humble turnip has quite the reputation after all.  In ancient civilization, it was considered the vegetable of choice for nobility.  Around the same time, some folks were using fermented turnips for an unusual brew.  Mmmm…turnip beer…  In America’s early colonies, turnips were as valuable as coinage, being used as currency in the marketplace.  Heck, sometime in the 17th and 18th centuries, there purportedly was an “Age of the Turnip”, thanks to the introduction of new varieties that made turnips an even more valuable crop for farmers. 

Hakurei Turnips

I was all excited to try out this mashed turnip idea. It’s a shame my “Age of the Turnip” isn’t meant to be.  But if you like cooked turnips, I have no doubt it’ll be a delish dish for you.  If I weren’t adverse to cooked turnips, I’d definitely be incorporating this twist on the classic mashed potatoes into my Thanksgiving fare.   The vivid Scarlet Queen variety that I included with the milder white Hakurei gave the mash a delicate pink hue and (unfortunately for me since I’m not a fan) a spicier flavor.

Roasted Garlic

If you’re not a cooked turnip fan like me, there’s still something to take away from this recipe.  Roasting garlic is shamefully easy but changes everything when you add it to mashed potatoes.  Once roasted, garlic mellows and sweetens its flavor.  I’d go so far as to say it gets almost buttery so it’s a wonderful compliment to many dishes that typically include butter as a key flavor agent – in particular, anything with corn, carrots, or potatoes will benefit from roasted garlic.  The farm’s German Extra Hardy variety is very pungent raw and roasts up beautifully with still distinctive notes of fresh garlic behind the stronger sweet caramelized flavor. 

Turnips and garlic ready to be mashed

Turnip and Roasted Garlic Mash
A Straight from the Farm original

2 bunches of mild turnips (Hakurei variety works well)
1 large head of garlic
2 T. butter
generous pinches of salt and pepper
fresh chives to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place whole head of garlic, unpeeled, on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast garlic in oven for 30 minutes or until very squishy.   Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While garlic is roasting, bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil.  Wash turnips well, trimming off tops and roots.  Cut into 1 inch pieces and boil until tender, about 20 minutes depending on the variety.  Drain off water and allow to sit for five minutes.  Turnips will release more water as they cool.  Drain additional water off and use either a potato masher or an electric mixer to begin mashing up the turnips.  

Cut a half inch off the top of the roasted head of garlic, exposing the cloves inside.  With your hand, squeeze out all the garlic pulp into the turnips.   Add butter and salt and pepper before continuing to mash turnips to the desired consistency.  If turnips appear to be releasing more water after being mashed, drain it off and add more salt if necessary. 

Serve immediately with a few snips of fresh garlic chives.  If desired, serve cooked turnip tops along side turnip mash.  To cook turnip tops, simple wash and roughly chop.  Heat olive oil or butter in a skillet and add turnips when hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turnip greens are fairly bitter.

(serves 3-4)

Turnip and Roasted Garlic Mash


Entry filed under: Purely Vegetables, Recipes.

Stirring Loves Company The World In Black and White

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. erik_flannestad  |  November 8, 2007 at 12:26 pm


    Though, I would probably make it with Rutabagas, given a choice.

    Also, hmmm, roasted beets are way better than boiled beets. Have you ever tried roasting the turnips, too?

  • 2. Jennie  |  November 8, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Rutabagas would be an interesting adaptation, Erik. Give it a try and let me know. 🙂 Yes, I’ve roasted turnips too. Here’s one of my earlier attempts: https://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/roasted-vegetable-medley/

  • 3. taylor  |  November 8, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    All of your problems are solved! Do as most people from my parts of the world do…throw the underground root away and eat the greens. Turnip greens!!

  • 4. Jennie  |  November 9, 2007 at 7:12 am

    Oh I’ve got quite the monster batch of greens collecting in my fridge, Taylor. Turnip tops, beet tops, collards, kale, mustard greens…I’m planning on throwing them all into a pot at once and seeing what comes of it. Any suggestions?

  • 5. VegeYum  |  November 9, 2007 at 7:32 am

    i dont like turnips per se either. But I do love roasted garlic. I so love squeezing it out – rather like squeezing toothpaste. Your photo of the mash looks very inviting and almost makes me want to try it.

  • 6. Jennie  |  November 9, 2007 at 8:34 am

    VegeYum – I know! Squeezing roasted garlic is so much fun! 🙂 I just find it fascinating how it changes from something so solid to something so mushy in just 30 minutes in the oven.

  • 7. erik_flannestad  |  November 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    My favorite roasted beets, though, are roasted whole.

    Do you think that would work with turnips/rutabagas? Or would their water content just turn them to mush?

    Ha, well, I guess I will experiment tomorrow.

    Regarding a mish mash of greens:

    Is there anything better than aGUMBO Z’HERBES (Gumbo Pages link)?

  • 8. Jennie  |  November 9, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks for the green gumbo recipe, Erik! I do believe I might just have to try that. 🙂

  • 9. Try It. You’ll Like It. « Straight from the Farm  |  January 8, 2008 at 9:56 am

    […] confessed to my disinterest in cooked turnips before.  Is it coincidence that I’m once again lacking inspiration as I try to write this post […]

  • 10. Tatties and Neeps, Anyone? « Straight from the Farm  |  January 25, 2009 at 11:52 am

    […] I admit I’m being a bit snarky in writing the above, but there’s also a note of seriousness in it since I do often take up a new recipe with the same nervous energy as I would for a date.  When I saw this particular recipe in Eat Feed Autumn Winter, I was a little concerned because it would use up the last of my turnips for the season – a gorgeous bunch of baby white Hakureis that are so tender and sweet I even ate a few out of hand (which is saying a lot if you remember my semi-aversion to turnips).  […]


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