Looking at turnips it is difficult to believe that it is a relative of cabbage. Outwardly, it more likely resembles a radish, and to taste - a potato. True, few today know what taste is like turnip. And this is sad, since besides the fact that turnip is one of the oldest vegetables on the planet, it is also useful.
What is a turnip?
A plant known to botanists as Brassica Rapa, we call it only turnips. This root crop with white, greenish or violet-red skin belongs to the Cruciferous family and has been growing all over the world since ancient times. Today, for commercial purposes, about 30 varieties of "domesticated" turnip are grown - the closest relative of wild turnip.
It is believed that the first wild turnips appeared in Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Researchers suggest that this root crop saved 4,000 years ago from starvation. The first mass growing turnips was taken by the Hellenes and the ancient Romans. Although already in ancient times, turnips were mainly food for the poor.
This vegetable has repeatedly protected humanity from starvation, but even this did not help him enter the rank of "elite" and respected. For centuries, turnips in different countries have been considered the food of slaves and livestock. And not the last role in this was played by the specific mustard flavor of the root crop.
True, in Russia, turnip was the main thing on the tables. In those ancient times, it was used almost like we do today. Everything changed when Catherine the Second accustomed her subjects to potatoes that were fashionable at that time, and turnips remained only on the tables of the poor who could not afford potatoes. By the twentieth century, the descendants of Rusich almost forgot about this vegetable. Although even today this plant is cultivated in almost all countries, even in tropical regions, but there it survives only in the highlands.
Despite its unpopularity, turnip is a useful and nutritious vegetable, a source of substances important for humans.
So in 100 g of root vegetables contains about 30 mg of vitamin C - a powerful antioxidant, important for maintaining immunity and tissue repair. Turnip also provides most of the B vitamins that the body needs to replenish daily. B-vitamins are necessary for the proper metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, they are indispensable for the nervous system, are responsible for the health of the skin, hair, liver and eyes.
A little more than 75 mg of calcium (about 8 percent of the daily intake) is contained in a 100 gram turnip. Also, the vegetable is rich in potassium, which is important for maintaining blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. The root crop contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, manganese, selenium and a large number of amino acids.
And in addition to all these benefits, it is important to say that this vegetable is a dietary product suitable for people on a diet. If a 100-gram serving of boiled potatoes contains almost 200 kilocalories, then a similar amount of turnip puree is only 51 kcal. At the same time, mashed potatoes contain quite a lot of fiber, which significantly increases the ability of the root crop to satisfy hunger and maintain satiety for a long time.
But in addition to root vegetables, vegetable greens are also edible and healthy. Dark young leaves contain more than the daily intake of vitamins A and K, and the tops are rich in vitamin B9, ascorbic acid, calcium, iron, fiber and carbohydrates.
|Calorie content||28 kcal|
|Vitamin C||21 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.1 mcg|
|Vitamin B1||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.4 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B9||15 mcg|
|Calorie content||20 kcal|
|Vitamin A||381 mcg|
|Vitamin B9||118 mcg|
|Vitamin C||27 mg|
|Vitamin K||368 mcg|
Plant foods are useful in preventing obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases, and improving overall well-being and appearance.
But besides these common advantages for vegetables, turnips have their own list of useful properties.
Lowers blood pressure
A few years ago, British researchers determined that this root crop has several advantages for the cardiovascular system. Among them is the ability to lower blood pressure and prevent excessive platelet formation. Potassium contained in the vegetable also contributes to the relaxation of blood vessels and a gentle decrease in blood pressure.
Protects against cancer
Back at the end of the last century, scientists said that cruciferous vegetables have the ability to prevent cancer. All vegetables in this group contain sulforaphane. It is this compound that gives the fruit a bitter taste, but at the same time it has the power to prevent malignant degeneration of cells. In the laboratory, the effectiveness of sulforaphane has been proven to slow down the division of cancer cells.
Promotes proper digestion and detoxification
Turnip is a vegetable with a high fiber content, which, as you know, is indispensable for maintaining a healthy rhythm of the digestive organs. Dietary fiber not only promotes the rapid digestion of food, but also maintains a stable level of sugar in the blood. The latter fact suggests that fiber in turnips supports healthy metabolic processes. In addition, insoluble fiber has the ability to absorb toxins accumulated in the body, and quickly remove harmful substances.
The risk of developing diverticulosis is much lower in people whose diet is rich in fiber-rich vegetables. Turnip just meets these requirements. Raw and boiled root vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which means that it facilitates the easy functioning of the intestine, reduces pressure and inflammation in the colon.
Not only vitamin A is good for the eyes. Moderate intake of vitamin C, as has been scientifically proven, also helps to maintain healthy functioning of the eyes, protects them from UV radiation. Many people think that citrus fruits are almost the only source of ascorbic acid. This may be a revelation for some, but cruciferous vegetables also contain surprisingly high vitamin stores. Only two small turnips are able to provide the body with vitamin C in the amount necessary for daily needs.
Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory
Turnip greens contain a rich amount of glucosinolates. These are sulfur-containing compounds that have anti-cancer properties, and also protect against fungi, bacteria and prevent inflammation. By the way, among all cruciferous vegetables, turnip is second only to mustard in the amount of this substance.
What else useful turnip:
- This root crop is a good anti-inflammatory, relieves asthma symptoms.
- Thanks to vitamin C, the vegetable is useful in preventing scurvy.
- Root crops and tops are rich in antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, thereby preventing the development of atherosclerosis and the destruction of blood vessels.
- Ascorbic acid makes the root crop useful for smokers: it has a beneficial effect on the condition of the lungs.
- Strengthens bones and teeth, prevents osteoporosis and reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
- The nutrients in turnips help restore connective tissue within the body.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Promotes a healthy metabolism.
- Improves the functioning of the nervous system, liver.
- Prevents the formation of gallstones.
- Activates healthy hair and nail growth.
Turnip in traditional medicine
It is believed that a decoction of leaves and stems is useful for treating cancer. Boiled turnip with fat in some folk recipes is referred to as a remedy for breast cancer. Dry flowers and vegetable seeds help fight malignant formations in skin cells. Also, pulp from seeds is used to treat burns. In South Korea, turnip is known as a diuretic, as well as a natural cure for jaundice and digestive disorders. In Iran, root crops boiled with salt give people with a strong cough and a cold. In Russia, turnip juice was used to treat sore throats, and broth - asthma, tachycardia and insomnia. Warm gruel from boiled or baked root vegetables was applied to joints affected by gout.
Like other representatives of the cruciferous family, turnip contains glucosinolates. Excessive intake of this substance impairs the production of thyroid hormones. This fact makes turnips an undesirable product in the diet of people with gland dysfunction.
Greens contain a small amount of oxalic acid, which, when ingested, can crystallize and form stones in the kidneys and urinary tract.
Raw root crops are undesirable for people with gastritis, ulcers, colitis and gastroenteritis, as well as inflammation of the kidneys and liver.
To taste, turnip resembles a cross between potatoes and carrots, but with a touch of mustard. Young root vegetables can be eaten raw by adding to salads. Older ones are usually boiled, used to make soups, stews, mashed vegetables, marinated and baked. Mature turnips have tougher skin, but also a more pronounced aroma. Due to its special taste, the vegetable goes well with meat, in particular with pork.
In Italy, a popular side dish is prepared from root vegetables, this vegetable is used in the cuisines of India and Pakistan, and a traditional winter salad is prepared from raw grated turnips and fresh herbs in the Tyrolean Alps. In Lebanon, they are used in a pickled form, and in Japan they love it fried.
Some also use young turnip leaves for food. Salads seasoned with lemon juice and vegetable oil are prepared from them.
You will need 3 large turnips, 2 carrots, celery, 1 liter of chicken stock, parsley, onions, salt, pepper. While finely chopped onions are fried in vegetable oil, cut the vegetables into small pieces, add chicken stock and boil until cooked. Add spices to the finished soup and grind everything in a blender until smooth. Add the toasted onions. Chopped greens and sunflower seeds are suitable for decorating plates with cream soup.
Mix grated root vegetables, carrots, onions, eggs, spices and a little flour. You should get a homogeneous mass without lumps. Fry pancakes in a hot pan in a large amount of vegetable oil.
Salad ingredients: 500 g turnips, 1 carrot, 150 g crab sticks, half a can of corn, parsley and green onions, salt, pepper, a clove of garlic, mayonnaise.
Raw turnip and carrots grate. Cut the crab sticks into small cubes. Add the remaining ingredients, mix. Garnish with greens.
Turnip and Pear Salad
Grate one turnip, two carrots and three pears on a coarse grater. Add a spoonful of lemon juice, salt, pepper and a little sugar. Season the finished salad with sour cream or natural yogurt.
Other ways to use turnips
Turnip, being food for people and pet food, has some other interesting properties. For example, turnip peel can be thrown away, or can be used as an insect repellent. A decoction of the skin with a small addition of soap is used to get rid of spider mites, aphids and flies. They also say that turnip juice helps get rid of the unpleasant odor of sweat and activates hair growth (if you rub fresh juice into the scalp).
Today, turnips are a rare guest at our tables. Potato took its place. Meanwhile, these products have different advantages, and the useful properties of turnips cannot be replaced by any other vegetable. So maybe it's time to return this root crop to our diet?