can you eat turnip greens raw

Can you eat turnip greens raw, or should you cook them first? If you’ve bought whole turnips recently, you might have noticed the leafy greens protruding from the top.

The leaves look a lot like other salad ingredients, so why do we throw them away?

Turnip greens can be eaten raw and have several health benefits. They are high in Vitamin K, C, and A.

Although it’s pretty rare to find whole turnips at your average grocery store, turnip greens are a secret superfood. If you buy whole turnips, you can put those greens to good use.

Use them in salads, and smoothies, or simply eat them as a leafy green. 

What Are Turnip Greens?

turnip greens

Turnips are a small root vegetable. The part usually eaten grows under the ground and is the root of the vegetable.

Like potatoes, these root vegetables are often cut and used in salads and dishes. But, the root of the turnip is only part of the vegetable.

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Turnip greens are the part of the vegetable that grows above the ground.

The greens can be classified as a different type of vegetable. While turnips are root vegetables, turnip greens are considered cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables include kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens.

These are some of the healthiest foods on the planet and are incredibly rich in nutrients and vitamins.

Turnip greens are the top parts of turnips but have their separate health benefits and nutritional facts.

What are the Health Benefits of Turnip Greens?

health benefits

Like many cruciferous vegetables, turnip greens are exceptionally healthy.

They have similar vitamin levels to kale and spinach, some of the most popular leafy greens in the health world.

Here are some of the primary health benefits of raw turnip greens.

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Folate

Each of these vitamins and minerals is essential for human health, making turnip greens an excellent leafy vegetable. They are also low in calories and fat.

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the health benefits

The only potential negative to turnip greens is their relatively high sodium level.

If making a dish with turnip greens, it’s best not to add too much sodium.

The health benefits of turnip greens are indisputable and nearly match those of kale, bok choy, and other cruciferous vegetables.

These greens will increase hair and skin health and help reduce the risk of anemia, osteoporosis, and possibly even cancer.

The health benefits of green veggies are many.

Tip: A regular diet of healthy greens is excellent for anyone’s health.

Can You Eat Turnip Greens Raw?

Not only can you eat turnip greens raw, but they are also healthiest for you when raw.

eat raw turnip

Sauteing or cooking vegetables, including leafy greens, can reduce some of the natural nutrients in the greens themselves.

While they will still be healthy, the added oils and spices might change the health benefits somewhat.

Turnip greens have several health benefits and are healthiest when eaten raw.

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Whether that’s as a snack or in a salad, using the tops of turnips to increase your levels of vitamin K, C, and A is a great way to include extra vitamins.

Raw turnip greens are tasty in smoothies, salads, and on their own. They work well as wraps and on sandwiches, although they have a more bitter and peppery taste than regular lettuce. 

Essentially, you can use turnip greens anywhere you would use kale or collard greens.

Of course, any fruit or vegetable should be cleaned thoroughly before consumption, especially if it’s being eaten raw.

Pesticides and dirt from the fields might remain on the greens, so it’s crucial to wash vegetables before eating them.

How to Shop for Turnip Greens

how to shop

If turnip greens are so healthy for you, why don’t people use them that often?

They aren’t usually sold attached to turnips and can be difficult to find.

Besides, it’s not clear that many people know about the health benefits of turnip greens, especially when compared to green superstars like kale and spinach.

Tip: Check when your grocery store gets their product shipment and shop on that day.

Because turnip greens are more difficult to harvest than other greens, they generally aren’t sold by themselves.

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Turnips are rarely sold whole, so it can be difficult to find turnip greens. However, some farmer’s markets and produce sections have whole turnips with the greens attached.

Instead of buying turnips without greens attached, you can head to the fresh produce section and buy the entire turnip, greens and all.

When looking for turnip greens you will eat instead of throwing away, make sure you get the right kind.

shop green turnips

Here’s a brief guide to looking for good turnip greens.

  • Make sure the leaves are bright green
  • Check for wilting and avoid those plants
  • Look for healthy turnips as well

If you find healthy turnips with bright green leaves, you can utilize the entire plant in your meal.

It’s also possible to save the turnips and eat the greens first. Whether you cook them or eat them raw, the quality of the plant matters in a recipe!

How to Eat Raw Turnip Greens

Can you eat turnip greens raw in salad? Yes! The most common way to eat raw turnip greens is in a salad.

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You can substitute turnip greens for kale and arugula.

Turnip greens have a bright, peppery flavor, so they work well paired with a lemony vinaigrette or a creamier dressing.

eating raw green turnip

Raw turnip greens can also be included in smoothies. Although they will mix with other fruits and veggies, the nutrients won’t change if they’re blended.

Blending is more effective than juicing vegetables when some vitamins and minerals are reduced.

Tip: Use orange juice in a turnip green smoothie to neutralize the peppery taste.

If you choose to cook turnip greens, you can treat them like kale leaves. They saute and broil well and make excellent sides to soups and meat dishes.

With the nutritional value of turnip greens, adding them to a salad instead of iceberg lettuce is an excellent choice (especially if you are already using the turnips).

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about turnip greens. We hope they help!

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faqs about green turnip

What Do Turnip Greens Taste Like?

Turnip greens taste like a combination of kale and turnips. They have the same leafy texture and flavor as kale, with the sharper, peppery turnip flavor.

Turnips harvested in the fall are peppery, and veggies harvested in spring have a lighter flavor.

How Long Can I Store Turnip Greens in the Refrigerator?

If you are storing turnip greens in the refrigerator, you have a few days at best before they start to wilt.

Buying a whole turnip and storing it in the fridge is the best way to make your turnips last as long as possible, but the greens will go bad first.

The best way to get your turnips to last longer is to use the greens within a few days and wrap the turnip in cling wrap. 

It will last up to a week in the refrigerator this way. However, the greens will wilt quickly, so plan to use them within a few days of purchase.

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Are turnip greens more or less bitter than collard greens?

Collard greens are regularly used in Southern food and are famous for their bitter flavor.

While turnip greens have a slightly bitter and peppery taste, they are not quite as bitter as collard greens.

Many people who don’t like collard greens enjoy turnip greens.

So, Can You Eat Turnip Greens Raw?

Again, can you eat turnip greens raw? The answer is, yes! Turnip greens are healthy and safe to be eaten raw.

They are as tasty as other healthy greens, especially in salads or sauteed with other veggies.

These greens might not be as well-known or easily available as other superfoods. But they provide an array of vitamins and nutrients when eaten raw.