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8 Types of Turnips – An Overview (with Pictures)

turnips on a wood surface

Turnips are delicious root vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family. There are over 30 types of turnips, and these differ in color, flavor, size, and usage. While purple-top turnips are the most common, other options are available in local nurseries.

Are you looking to expand the range of turnips in your kitchen garden? Here is a detailed overview of eight types of turnips that are flavorsome and easy to grow.

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The 8 Types of Turnips

1. Purple-Top Turnips

Purple-Top Turnips
Image By: julie deshaies, Shutterstock
Globe Color: white with purple top
Size: 4 to 6 inches diameter
Flavor: Spicy
Peak Season: Spring and fall

The purple-top is perhaps the most common type of turnip. It is a fast-growing root vegetable that matures in 55 days on average after planting. It develops a purple crown with exposed smooth, round globes. Both the leaves and roots are protein-packed and nutritious, and you can use them to prepare a spicy-flavored stew.

2. Baby Bunch Turnips

Baby Bunch Turnips
Image By: ivabalk, Pixabay
Globe Color: creamy white
Size: 1 to 2 inches diameter
Flavor: Earthy, sweet, peppery
Peak Season: October through March

Baby bunch turnips are much smaller, with the creamy white globes reaching 1–2 inches in diameter. When peeled, the bulbous roots have succulent and crunchy bone-white interiors with an appealing earthy, sweet, and peppery flavor. With this turnip, nothing goes to waste because the leaves and stems can be used to make tasty salads.

3. Tokyo Cross Turnips

Tokyo Cross Turnips
Image By: Renee_Olmsted_Photography, Pixabay
Globe Color: White
Size: 2 to 6 inches diameter
Flavor: Mild, sweet
Peak Season: Spring to fall

The Tokyo cross turnip is a fast-growing hybrid turnip that matures about 40 days from planting. It develops white globes that can be harvested when two inches in diameter for salads or six inches for steamed or roasted recipes. Unlike most turnips, the Tokyo cross globes have a mild, sweet flavor. The leaves of the plant are edible and can be steamed to make a quick, easy, and tasty side dish.

4. Scarlet Queen Turnips

Scarlet Queen Turnip
Image Credit: jackmac34, Pixabay
Globe Color: Red or magenta
Size: 2 to 4 inches diameter
Flavor: Mild, sweet
Peak Season: Early spring through late summer

The Scarlet Queen turnip has gorgeous red or magenta skin and a spicy flavor. However, the globes have white flesh with a mild, sweet, and crisp taste. The plant’s stem and dark green leaves are also edible and can be used to make lightly cooked salads. It takes about 45 days for the turnip to mature and the bulbous roots to reach two to four inches in diameter.

5. Gold Ball Turnip

Gold Ball Turnip
Image Credit: drivedesptitsbocaux, Pixabay
Globe Color: Golden-yellow
Size: 3 to 4 inches diameter
Flavor: Mild, sweet with an almond aftertaste
Harvest Season: Spring and fall

The gold ball turnip has golden-yellow skin and flesh. While it is a gorgeous root vegetable, it is best known for its flavor. The turnip is mild, sweet, and mellow with an almond aftertaste. It can be eaten raw or cooked to make stews and soups. It takes 45 to 65 days to mature, and the globe can grow between three and four inches in diameter.

6. White Turnip (White Lady)

White Turnip
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay
Globe Color: White
Size: 3 to 5 inches diameter
Flavor: Crisp, sweet
Harvest Season: Spring and fall

The white turnip, also known as the white lady turnip, matures in 30 to 35 days. It has smooth, white, globe-shaped roots that can be harvested at three inches in diameter for the best quality stews or at five inches. While the globes are crisp and sweet, most people love the turnip for its nutritious greens.

7. Red Round Turnip

Red Round Turnip
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay
Globe Color: Red
Size: 3 to 4 inches diameter
Flavor: Mild, sweet
Harvest Season: Spring and fall

The red round is a rare traditional Japanese turnip with red-skinned semi-globed roots and red stems. While its leaves are green, they also have attractive red veins. The red round turnip is fast-growing and matures in 45 to 50 days. Its delicious, sweet flavored, and gorgeous white flesh with red streaking make it excellent for making pickles or serving as a side dish to your sushi.

8. Just Right Turnip

Just Right Turnip
Image Credit: stux, Pixabay
Globe Color: Pure white
Size: 5 to 6 inches diameter
Flavor: Mild, sweet
Harvest Season: Fall to winter

Just Right turnips are relatively slow-growing and can take up to 70 days to mature. They have large, smooth semi-globe roots ranging between 5 and 6 inches. This is one of the rare turnip hybrids with late pithiness, meaning it maintains excellent flavor even when harvested in large sizes.

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Turnips have been cultivated for thousands of years and are a staple in the diets of various cultures. While these root vegetables originated in middle and eastern Asia, they are grown worldwide, especially in regions with moderate temperatures. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about turnips.

Do Turnips Have Nutritional Value?

Turnips are highly nutritious, fat-free vegetables with low calories. They are rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. While you can cook turnips and serve them as a side dish, they are more nutritious when enjoyed raw.

How Do I Grow Turnips?

Most turnip varieties are hardy plants. They are fast-growing and take between 40 and 45 days on average to mature. While most thrive when planted between April and August, it is crucial to note the ideal time for harvesting. Only a few turnip varieties like Just Right turnips maintain excellent taste and texture when allowed to grow past the recommended harvesting mark.

How Do I Store Turnips After Harvesting?

Turnips are best when eaten fresh, although you can also refrigerate them for up to 3 weeks. If you want to store them for longer (3 to 12 months), peel the globes and chop them into smaller pieces. You then need to steam, cook and mash or roast them before storing them in a freezer bag.

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Final Thoughts

Turnips are popular vegetables in modern kitchen gardens. They have versatile applications and can be incorporated into various recipes. Apart from sautéing, baking, or roasting turnips, you can eat them raw.

While there are different types of this root vegetable, some are more useful than others, depending on the recipes and dishes you aim to prepare. Unless you have a zealous or refined interest in exploring new foods and flavors, it is better to stick to well-known turnip varieties.

See also: 14 Companion Plants For Turnips (With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay


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