turnip belongs to the order Cruciferæ, signifying
"cross flowers," so called because their four petals are arranged in
the form of a cross.
It is a native of Europe and the temperate
portions of Asia, growing wild in borders of fields and waste places.
The ancient Roman gastronomists considered the turnip, when prepared in
the following manner, a dish fit for epicures: "After boiling, extract
the water from them, and season with cummin, rue or benzoin, pounded in
a mortar; afterward add honey, vinegar, gravy, and boiled grapes. Allow
the whole to simmer, and serve."
Under cultivation, the turnip forms an agreeable culinary
esculent; but on account of the large proportion of water entering into
its composition, its nutritive value is exceedingly low. The Swedish,
or Rutabaga, variety is rather more nutritive than the white, but its
stronger flavor renders it less palatable. Unlike the potato, the
turnip contains no starch, but instead, a gelatinous substance called
pectose, which during the boiling process is changed into a vegetable
jelly called pectine. The white lining just inside the skin is usually
bitter; hence the tuber should be peeled sufficiently deep to remove
it. When well cooked, turnips are quite easily digested.
and Cooking.—Turnips are good for culinary purposes only from
the time of their ripening till they begin to sprout. The process of
germination changes their proximate elements, and renders them less fit
for food. Select turnips which are plump and free from disease. A
turnip that is wilted, or that appears spongy, pithy, or cork-like when
cut, is not fit for food.
Prepare turnips for cooking by thoroughly washing and
scraping, if young and tender, or by paring if more mature. If small,
they may be cooked whole; if large, they should be cut across the grain
into slices a half inch in thickness. If cooked whole, care must be
taken to select those of uniform size; and if sliced, the slices must
be of equal thickness.
Turnips.—Turnips, like other vegetables, should be boiled in
as small an amount of water as possible. Great care must be taken,
however, that the kettle does not get dry, as scorched turnip is
spoiled. An excellent precaution, in order to keep them from scorching
in case the water becomes low, is to place an inverted saucer or
sauce-dish in the bottom of the kettle before putting in the turnips.
Put into boiling water, cook rapidly until sufficiently tender to
pierce easily with a fork; too much cooking discolors and renders them
strong in flavor. Boiled turnips should be drained very thoroughly, and
all water pressed out before preparing for the table. The age, size,
and variety of the turnip will greatly vary the time necessary for its
cooking. The safest rule is to allow plenty of time, and test with a
fork. Young turnips will cook in about forty-five minutes; old
turnips, sliced, require from one and a quarter to two hours. If whole
or cut in halves, they require a proportionate length of time. White
turnips require much, less cooking than yellow ones.
Turnips.—Select turnips of uniform size; wash and wipe, but
do not pare; place on the top grate of a moderately hot oven; bake two
or more hours or until perfectly tender; peel and serve at once, either
mashed or with cream sauce. Turnips are much sweeter baked than when
cooked in any other way.
Turnips.—Pare, but do not cut, young sweet white turnips;
boil till tender in a small quantity of water; drain and dry well. Cook
a tablespoonful of flour in a pint of rich milk or part cream; arrange
the turnips in a baking dish, pour the sauce over them, add salt if
desired, sprinkle the top with grated bread crumbs, and brown in a
Turnips.—Chop well-boiled white turnips very fine, add salt
to taste and sufficient lemon juice to moisten. Turn into a saucepan
and heat till hot, gently lifting and stirring constantly. Cold boiled
turnip may be used advantageously in this way.
Turnips.—Wash the turnips, pare, and drop into boiling water.
Cook until perfectly tender; turn into a colander and press out the
water with a plate or large spoon; mash until free from lumps, season
with a little sweet cream, and salt if desired. If the turnips are
especially watery, one or two hot, mealy potatoes mashed with them will
be an improvement.
Turnips.—Prepare and boil whole white turnips until nearly
tender; cut into thin slices, lay in an earthen pudding dish, pour over
them a white sauce sufficient to cover, made by cooking a tablespoonful
of flour in a pint of milk, part cream if preferred, until thickened.
Season with salt, sprinkle the top lightly with grated bread crumbs,
and bake in a quick oven until a rich brown. Place the baking dish on a
clean plate, and serve. Rich milk or cream may be used instead of white
sauce, if preferred.
Turnips.—Select turnips of uniform size, wash, pare, and
steam rapidly till they can be easily pierced with a fork; mash, or
serve with lemon juice or cream sauce, as desired.
Turnips.—Prepare and slice some young, fresh white turnips,
boil or steam about twenty minutes, drain thoroughly, turn into a
saucepan with a cup of new milk for each quart of turnips; simmer
gently until tender, season with salt if desired, and serve.
in Juice.—Wash young white turnips, peel, and boil whole in
sufficient water to keep them from burning. Cover closely and cook
gently until tender, by which time the water in the kettle should be
reduced to the consistency of syrup. Serve at once.
with Cream Sauce.—Wash and pare the turnips, cut them into
half-inch dice, and cook in boiling water until tender. Meanwhile
prepare a cream sauce as directed for Scalloped Turnips, using thin
cream in place of milk. Drain the turnips, pour the cream sauce over
them, let them boil up once, and serve.
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