When you think of turnips, do you think of the bitter taste that is often associated with them? If so, don’t worry – there are ways to get rid of that bitterness and make turnips into a delicious side dish.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do just that.
So, if you’re looking for a way to make your turnips less bitter, keep reading!
Table of Contents:
Why Are My Turnips and Turnip Greens Bitter?
Have you ever wondered why your turnips and turnip greens are bitter? Here are a few common reasons why you might be dealing with this issue.
The Weather Was Too Hot
Most of the time, it all has to do with the weather. Bitter compounds develop in the roots when the weather is warm, and these compounds are then transferred to the leaves when the plant grows.
Grown in Full Sun vs. Partial Shade
One of the most important things to remember when growing turnips is that they need to be protected from full sun.
If they are exposed to too much sunlight, they will become bitter. For this reason, turnips should be planted in an area that receives partial shade. They will also need to be watered regularly, as they are susceptible to drought.
High Mineral Content
Turnips have a slightly sweet and tangy taste, but they can also be quite bitter if they have a high mineral content.
The bitterness is caused by compounds called glucosinolates, which are present in all members of the mustard family (which includes turnips, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts).
Glucosinolates are important for plant defense, but they can make turnips less palatable to humans.
Some people enjoy the bitter taste of turnips, but others find it off-putting. If you find turnips to be too bitter, you can try cooking them with other vegetables or adding some sweetener to balance out the flavor.
Have you ever had a turnip that tasted so bitter it made your face pucker? If so, chances are the turnip wasn’t thinned.
Thinning is the process of removing extra plants so that the remaining plants have room to grow. When it comes to turnips, proper thinning is essential for preventing bitterness.
Turnips produce a chemical called glucosinolate, which gives them their characteristic flavor.
However, if there are too many plants competing for space, the level of glucosinolate in each individual turnip will be lower. As a result, the turnips will be less flavorful and more bitter.
You Harvested Too Late
Turnips are delicious, but they can become quite bitter if you wait too long to harvest them.
The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your turnips are always tender and tasty. Harvest your turnips as soon as they reach the desired size – and not a day later!
The Soil is Too Alkaline
If you’ve ever grown turnips, you know that they can sometimes be a bit bitter. This is usually due to the soil they’re grown in – if the soil is too alkaline, it can cause the turnips to be bitter.
There are a few ways to test your soil to see if it’s too alkaline – you can buy a test kit at your local nursery, or you can do a simple pH test at home. To do a pH test, simply take a small sample of soil and add some distilled water to it.
Then, use a pH testing strip to test the acidity of the soil. If the soil is overly alkaline, it will have a pH level above 7.0. If this is the case, you’ll need to take steps to correct the problem.
You can add organic matter or lime to the soil to help raise the pH level. Just be sure not to add too much, as this can also make the turnips bitter too.
How to Get the Bitterness Out of Turnips
While turnips are a healthy and delicious root vegetable, they can sometimes taste a bit too bitter for some people’s liking.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your turnips more palatable.
Choose the Right Turnip Roots
When choosing turnip roots, go for small ones over large ones. More times than not, the smaller turnips are sweeter and more tender.
If you end up with a large one that is bitter, you can try cooking it longer or peeling it more thinly, but it might not be redeemable.
To avoid bitterness altogether, get turnips that are about the size of a golf ball. These will likely have just the right amount of sweetness and will be tender when cooked.
When in doubt, go for small turnips over large ones. Chances are you’ll be happy with the results.
Trim the Ends of the Turnip Roots
One way to reduce the bitterness is to trim the ends of the roots before cooking them. This helps to remove some of the compounds that contribute to bitterness.
In addition, you can also cook turnips with other vegetables or fruits that are known for their sweetness, such as carrots or apples.
Boil Turnips With Water and Potato Chunks
If you find turnips to be too bitter for your taste, there is an easy way to alleviate the bitterness. Simply boil the turnips with water and potato chunks.
The potato chunks will help to absorb some of the bitterness, leaving you with a more palatable turnip. This method is also quite simple and requires no special ingredients.
Peel Past the Bitterness Line
When peeling turnips, it’s important to avoid the bitterness line. This is the line between the edible flesh of the turnip and the inedible peel. The bitterness line is usually white or light-colored, and it can be quite bitter.
If you accidentally eat a turnip that has been peeled past the bitterness line, it can ruin the taste of the entire dish. When peeling turnips, be careful to only remove the thin layer of peel. This will ensure that your dish is delicious and free of bitterness.
Boil a Second Time
Have you ever tried boiling turnips, only to find that they come out tasting bitter? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find that turnips can be quite bitter, especially if they’re not cooked properly.
However, there is a simple solution to this problem: just boil the turnips a second time. This will help to remove any bitterness and make them taste much better.
How to Prevent Bitter Turnips in the Future
If you’ve ever bitten into a sour turnip, you know how unpleasant it can be.
The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this from happening in the future. Start by planting your turnips in well-drained soil.
Turnips need plenty of moisture to grow, but they won’t do well in soggy soil. Be sure to water them regularly, but don’t let them sit in waterlogged soil.
Additionally, make sure you harvest turnips when they’re young and tender. Older turnips tend to be more bitter. Finally, keep an eye on the pH level of your soil.
Too much acidity can also lead to bitter turnips. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy sweet and delicious turnips.
How Do I Cook Bitter Turnips?
With a little effort, you can easily overcome the challenge of cooking bitter turnips and enjoy their unique flavor. Here are some tips.
Add Some Salt
Many people find turnips to be unappealing bitter. If you find yourself in this camp, there is an easy fix: simply add a little bit of salt.
Salt helps to balance out the natural bitterness of turnips, making them more palatable. In addition, it enhances other flavors, such as sweetness and umami.
Try Olive Oil
If you find that turnips are a bit too bitter for your taste, you can try cooking them with olive oil. This will help to mellow out the flavor and make them more palatable.
Simply toss the turnips in olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are tender. You can also add other seasonings, such as salt and pepper, to taste.
Give it a try next time you’re looking for a way to make turnips more palatable. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Cook More Slowly
If you’ve ever eaten a turnip that was too bitter, you know how unpleasant it can be. Luckily, there’s an easy way to make turnips less bitter: cook them slowly. When turnips are cooked quickly, the bitterness has a chance to really set in.
However, when they’re cooked slowly, the flavors have a chance to develop and mellow out, resulting in a more pleasant taste.
So the next time you’re making turnips, be sure to give them plenty of time on the stove. Your taste buds will thank you!
Make a Turnip Dip
There is a way to make turnips less bitter: by making a turnip dip. Turnip dip is simply a mixture of turnips and other ingredients, such as mayonnaise, sour cream, or yogurt.
The other flavors help to offset the bitterness of the turnips, making them more palatable. So if you have some bitter turnips that you can’t bear to eat, give turnip dip a try.
One great way to bring out their natural sweetness is to make a turnip casserole. Start by roasting the turnips in the oven with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
Then, add them to a casserole dish with sautéed onions, garlic, and your favorite herbs. Bake the casserole until it is golden brown and bubbling, and enjoy the delicious results.
With their subtle sweetness and rich flavor, you’ll never think of turnips as bitter again.
One option is to mash them. This process breaks down the cell walls of the turnips, releasing their natural sweetness. You can then add other ingredients, such as butter, cream, or salt, to further offset the bitterness.
Turning up your nose at turnips? If you find these root vegetables to be too bitter, there’s an easy fix: pickling!
This simple process can help to mellow out the taste of turnips, making them more palatable.
And pickled turnips are also quite versatile, serving as a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, and even sushi rolls. Best of all, they’re easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients.
Add Seasonings (Sweet Ingredients are Best)
Another option is to add sweet or savory ingredients to offset the bitterness. For example, a touch of honey or maple syrup can work wonders, as can a sprinkling of salt or a dollop of cream.
If you’re looking for a more substantial dish, try turnip casserole. This comforting dish typically features mashed turnips mixed with cheese, eggs, and breadcrumbs, then baked until golden brown.
Not only is it delicious, but it’s also an excellent way to use up any extra turnips you may have.
So next time you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about turnips, remember that there’s more than one way to enjoy them.
What About Bitter Tasting Turnip Greens?
If you’ve ever found yourself with a bunch of bitter-tasting turnip greens, you may be wondering what to do with them.
There are a few different ways to approach this problem. Many of the methods are similar to what you might try with bitter turnip roots.
First, you could try cooking the greens in a way that will help to mask their bitterness.
For example, adding some sweet ingredients like honey or maple syrup can help to balance out the flavors.
Another option is to pair the greens with other strong-flavored foods, such as cheese or bacon. These bold flavors can help to offset the bitterness of the greens.
Finally, you could simply embrace the bitterness and use it to your advantage. Bitter greens are often used in salads, as their flavor can add an interesting dimension to the dish. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with bitter-tasting turnip greens.
With a little creativity, they can be a delicious addition to any meal.
So, there you have it. A guide to removing the bitterness from turnips. While this process is a little more complicated than just boiling them, the end result is worth it.
Once you’ve removed the bitterness, these root vegetables can be used in many delicious recipes.
Have you ever cooked with turnips? If so, we would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Rebekah is a high-school English teacher n New York, where she lives on a 22 acre homestead. She raises and grows chickens, bees, and veggies such as zucchini (among other things).