There’s a lot of confusion about turnips because it’s very similar to rutabagas and Swedes. But this confusion could also be accounted to the fact that there are so many types of turnips.
This hardy biennial tuber has been grown and cultivated since time immemorial – probably as far back as the time of Christ. It has been grown for human consumption as well as fodder for farm animals.
Back then, the most popular turnip varieties were the globular and broadbottom flat turnips.
Turnips slowly but surely made its way around the world, crossing from Europe to the Mediterranean across Asia to the Pacific.
As turnips were cultivated around the world, different varieties of turnips emerged and are now classified according to their shape (long, tankard, round or globe and flat), color of the upper part of the root (purple, red) and color of the flesh (white, yellow).
Today, the most common variety of turnip is the European type. It is round or globular in shape with a tinge of purple on top. The flesh of contemporary turnips is white to cream but golden yellow and some red-skinned varieties have already emerged.
Not all turnip variety can be eaten raw though. The Fall turnip has a strong taste that must be cooked to tame its flavor.
Here are some of the other types of turnips:
- Purple Top Milan – has flattish roots and purple markings.
- Manchester Market – is a round shaped turnip with green skin.
- Tokyo Turnip – a fairly recent addition to the turnip family, it can be harvested even when it’s just an inch in diameter.
- Golden Ball – is characterized its small, round shape and yellow skin.
- Snow Ball – true to its name, this turnip type has white skin and flesh and has a subtle flavor.
- Green Globe – is another variety of turnip with white flesh, its top – or turnip greens – are excellent, too.
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