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How To Clean Turnip Greens

Greens are a delicious and health food but must be cleaned properly. Turnip greens are no exception. If you do not want to eat dirt and grit, read this article to find out all the best ways to clean your turnip greens and prepare yourself for the best meal ever.

A skillet that is filled with turnip greens.

There are many ways you can prepare greens, no matter what type they are. Greens are an amazing food that tastes great and is good for you. As long as you care for them properly.

Cleaning your greens is a must. If you do not clean them properly, they will taste dirty and gritty. They may even have an unpleasant surprise bug or two in them. Long story short, clean those greens.

This article is going to focus on how to clean turnip greens, but you can clean any type of greens this way. 

Table of Contents

Related: What Meat Goes with Turnips | Types of Turnips | Types of Food | Vegetables and Herbs for Symbiotic Farming | Turnip Substitute | How to Store Turnip | Rutabaga vs. Turnip

What is a Turnip Green?

This is a pile of turnip green at display in a market.

Turnip greens are dark leafy greens on top of a turnip. Oftentimes, people cut them off the top of their turnips and throw them away. However, they are colorful and nutritious and can be eaten just like lettuce or other greens.

They have a ton of vitamin A and vitamin C in them. A turnip is a root vegetable that is closely related to arugula and radish. Turnips are part of the mustard greens family and can be found all year long.

They are hardy and inexpensive roots. There are many different types of greens, including southern collard greens, cooking greens, swiss chard, and even beet green. 

How to Clean Turnip Greens

This is a plate of turnip greens fresh.

It is incredibly important to properly clean your turnip greens. If not, they will be gritty and dirty. They may also contain pesticides and even little bugs. Rising them under some water is not enough. 

Method One – By Hand

Organic turnip greens that are ready to eat.

This method works for all types of turnips from baby turnips to diced turnips and even radishes. 

Step One

You are going to use your sink to clean the turnip greens, so you must make sure your sink is clean. You want to wash down the entire sink, including the sides and edges. Rinse your sink completely making sure there is soap residue. The bigger your sink is, the easier it will be to clean the leafy green. 

Step Two

You want to remove the leaves from the turnip root. You want to separate the leaves from each other so that none are stuck together. You want to make sure they can all move freely. You want to remove any stems from the leaves.

Step Three

You want to put the stopper in the sink to keep all of the water in. As you are removing the greens from the root, you can place them in the sink, or put them all in now. Then fill the sink with cool water. Do not use boiling water. This will ruin the taste of your tender greens. 

Step Four

Agitate the greens while in the cool water by gently moving them around with your hands. This allows the water to move through them completely. Each green leaf should be underwater and moved around while you are agitating the leaves. 

Step Five

Allow the leaves to soak for several minutes in the water. This allows the dirt to settle at the bottom of the sink.

Step Six

Pull the leaves out one at a time. If any of the leaves still seem dirty, you can gently move them around in the water. Be careful not to move the dirt around too much, so it does not get back on the greens. If you have a double sink, you can move it to the other side and run it underwater.

While you are pulling the greens out of the water, you can leave them whole or tear them into the size that you want them. 

Step Seven

If the turnip green are still dirty, you may need to refill the sink with cold water. All the greens to soak in the water and agitate with your hands again. You can continue to do this step until your greens are clean. If you have taken them directly from the ground, they may be incredibly dirty.

Step Eight

Once you take the greens out of the water, place them in a colander. If you put the colander in the sink, make sure all the water is drained out and all dirt has been washed away. If you have a double sink, put the colander on the other side. 

Step Nine

If there is still excess water on the greens, you can use a large piece of cotton muslin to remove the water. Put the greens in the middle of the muslin and pull the corners and edges together and grasp them firmly. You can take your cotton muslin outside and swing your arm in a big circle.

This creates a centrifuge that spins the water away from the greens. Then allow your greens to sit somewhere they will remain cool and dry. You can also use a salad spinner for the drying process if you have one.

You want to get your greens completely dry before you cook greens because they taste better and are less likely to rot. 

Method Two – Washing Machine

A close look at a washing machine interior.

This may seem like a strange way to wash your turnip greens, but it works. This is not a great option in all situations. However, if you have a large number of turnip greens that have a lot of dirt on them, this may be a great option. 

Step One

Make sure your washing machine is completely clean and there is no residue left behind from washing clothes. 

Step Two

Put the turnip tops in the washing machine and set them on delicate. You want to make sure you are using cold water. Once you turn on the washing machine, allow the greens to switch for about five minutes. Do not let them go through any spin cycle. Be sure to stop them before they begin to spin. 

Step Three

Drain the water from the washing machine. Do another single rinse with cold water. 

Step Four

Take the turnip greens out of the washer and drain them in a colander. Do not put them in the dryer. This will ruin your greens. 

Step Five

To completely dry the turnip greens, you can use the centrifuge method explained above or put them in a salad spinner. 

Method Three – Alternative Options

If you do not want to go through the processes above, you can use salt to help pull dirt and grime away from your turnip greens. 

Salt Method

Salt is being applied from a salt shaker.

Step One 

You can add 1 tablespoon of salt to water in your sink, or in a bucket to create salt water. Let the greens soak in the salt water solution for 30 minutes to remove dirt and grime. Rinse off the green under running water for about three minutes to rinse off the salt. 

Step Two

Dry off the greens using a salad spinner or the centrifuge method outlined above.

Baking Soda Method

A full jar of baking soda on a table.

Step One

You can add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to cool water in your sink, or in a bucket. Using your hands, swish the greens around in the water solution so the dirt and grime settle on the bottom. Rinse off the green under running water. If the greens are still dirty, repeat the process until there is no dirt left on them. 

Step Two

Once the greens are free of dirt, dry them off with a salad spinner or the centrifuge method.

Vinegar Method

A close look at a spoon of apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar, including apple cider vinegar, has antibiotic properties in it. This makes it a wonderful cleaner for fresh greens that you plan to cook right away.

Step One

Add 0.5 cup of vinegar to cool water and allow the fresh turnip green to soak in the solution until the dirt sinks to the bottom. Remove the turnips greens from the solution and be sure to rinse them off well with water before making southern turnip greens. You can dry them thoroughly with a paper towel or salad spinner. 

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