Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Turn Up the Heat for Turnips!

Edible Madison magazine, a freebie I find at the local coffeehouse, is usually good for an interesting new recipe or two using sustainably grown ingredients.  I found one recently using turnips that I thought would be worth trying on the 30 day clean eating challenge.  I tweaked it a little, basically increasing portions as 5 turnips came in my package vs. the two the recipe called for.
The original recipe called for butter vs. EVOO and if I were not going dairy free this month I certainly would have used butter! Next time....

I admit, I had never had turnips before. We all agreed that they reminded us of kolarabi, which we have only eaten raw. I will tell you right now the family opinion of this recipe. I thought they were good. My husband said it was VERY good. Our 15 year old son, who eats more healthy than any teenage boy I know, said they were alright, but he wouldn't beg me to make them again. Our 10 year, more picky child, gave the turnips 2 thumbs down and would not any more after one bite. I will say that she says this about a lot of things first time through, and as we give her the same thing to try another day - in all likelihood she will eat it.  When we first gave her the children's AB chewable vitamins she didn't want anything to do with them. Afterall, she had been accustomed to the toxic gummy vitamins - made with real juice (of course), and a whole lotta other things I would never serve my children now.  I offered the all natural kid's chew again - flavored with real cherries, nothing artificial and not loaded with sugar or fructose or high fructose corn syrup, and she decided they were okay. Months later she commented that the vitamins were the best vitamins ever. It is all a matter of tastebuds adapting to new flavors - and it is especially difficult if our tastebuds are addicted to sugar. Maybe one day she will not turn up her nose at my glazed turnips!

Ginger & Orange Glazed Turnips

5 medium turnips peeled andcut into wedges or slice semi-thin
2 T EVOO sprinkled with turmeric spice, or use coconut oil
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
5 large cloves garlic, minced
Celtic sea salt, medium coarse grind
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Mandarin oranges, juiced plus save a little zest

In a medium cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet, warm oil over medium heat and sprinkle with turmeric spice to prevent the EVOO from oxidizing. This also releases the anti-oxidant cumin and makes the cumin bio-available for your body. Add turnips and season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occassionally until turnips just start to caramelize. Add ginger and garlic, and saute for another cuople of minutes, stirring frequently. 

Meanwhile use a lemon juicer to sqeeze your mandarin oranges!  The original recipe called for oranges, but seeing as we had a bag of mandarins I discovered how easily they juiced in my lemon press - walah!!!!  Juice in seconds!  Add orange juice and increase heat to medium. Cook until liquid is evaporated to a glaze, another 3-4 minutes. Stir in orange zest, test for salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.
Original recipe from Edible Madison Magazine -Winter 2012

Turnips are loaded with vitamin C with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Chinese medicine maintains that turnips help to cleanse the blood and increase energy flow.  They can help break up mucus and treat bronchitis - wish I had known that when our son had bronchitis in November. The greens from turnips are a nutritional powerhouse, rivaling that of kale, chard and watercress in levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants phytonurients.

I just learned in the article that there are gold and scarlet varieties that are more mild in flavor than the more common white/purple.
From a dietary standpoint, turnips turn out less starch than a potato, and I found they have a lower glycemic index than many root vegetables. On that note - not all potatoes are alike, with fingerling potatoes having less starch and a less GI than their Yukon Gold cousins.  Who knew?!

So if you are looking for an alternative to potatoes or you want to try a new vegetable - give turnips a try! If you can find them with the greens still on you can juice the greens for a nutritious dose of energy.

To your health,
Rita S.

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