How to Cook Turnip Greens With Roots

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Turnip greens taste similar to mustard greens and the roots are somewhat like a potato in texture, but with a sweet, stronger flavor. Both the round, white or purple turnip roots and its large leafy greens may be consumed. Turnip greens and roots can be slowly simmered together to make a delicious, nutritious side dish.

Cooking Turnips and Greens

Wash turnip greens thoroughly. Put the greens in a large bowl or stopped sink and fill with cool water. Thoroughly agitate the greens with your fingers to rinse grit. A handful at a time, wash the greens and transfer to a clean container, discarding any discolored leaves or debris. Repeat this process three times in order to remove grit and dirt that accumulates in the bundles of greens.

Remove the thick, woody stems from the turnip greens and discard. Place the greens in large pot without drying. Turnip greens reduce significantly in volume during cooking. The water that clings to the green after washing will be sufficient to simmer the greens and turnips.

Peel turnip roots with your vegetable peeler. Cut the roots into 1/2-inch cubes using a kitchen knife. Add the turnip roots to the large pot with the greens.

Begin heating the pot over low heat. Add bacon, ham or a small amount of olive oil and salt, to taste. Stir through the greens with a long spoon as they begin to cook down. A gallon pot full of greens will cook down to less than an inch of finished greens in the bottom of the pan. The meat serves to add some fat and salt, plus flavor.

Simmer over low heat until the greens are tender and the turnip roots are "fork tender." Cooking time may vary depending upon the maturity of the greens, the size of the pot and the efficiency of your stove. Watch closely and test tenderness with your knife to avoid over-cooking.

Serve greens. Remaining greens can be saved in the refrigerator or be frozen by placing cooled greens and liquid in a freezer bag.