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How to Store Turnips

Turnip root is a hardy vegetable that can last through the winter. You can store them for as long as a year when handled properly. Check out this article to find out all the ways you can store your turnips, so they are ready when you want them.

Various fresh turnips all in one basket.

If you are anything like me, you have a difficult time determining what is a turnip and what is a radish. I will be honest; I am not a fan of either of them. I know many people love both radishes and turnips.

They are a little more versatile than I give them credit for being. For those of you that are more open than I am and enjoy turnips, I applaud you. For those of you that need a little more information, this is the article for you.

Check out this article to find out how to store turnips, so you can enjoy them when you want. 

Table of Contents

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What Are Turnips?

A close look at pieces of purple turnips.

A turnip is considered a root vegetable. It is most often associated with a beet. However, it is more closely related to arugula and radish.

They all belong to the mustard family. The bulb and the leaves are edible. There are purple and white turnips. Turnips are typically available all year round but are best in the fall when they are most mature.

They are also good in spring when they are sweet but still small. As they age and grow, the skin of larger turnips becomes tougher and bitter. Most people peel the skin when it gets tough. The flavor is stronger when they are older, making them ideal for stews and mashed turnips. They are hardy and inexpensive.

How to Store Turnips

Mashed turnips with other vegetables in a bowl.

Turnips not only survive but thrive in places where other vegetables cannot. There are various ways to store turnips and turnip greens. It is important to remember that if you leave the green leaves attached to the turnip, they rot faster. They also rot faster if you chop them before they are stored. You do not want rotten turnips.

Option One – Storing Turnip Greens

You can eat turnip greens by themselves or in a salad. You can even add them to soup. 

Step One 

Chop the green leaves off the fresh turnip as close to the base of the leaves as you can get. 

Step Two

Wash the greens under cold water to remove pesticides and dirt. You want to cut away any part of the turnip that remains. Shake off the excess water. Do not use hot water. This can damage the greens and change the texture and taste. 

Step Three

Put the greens in a tub and fill the tub with water. Only put enough water in to cover the top. Ass two tablespoons of salt and mix it until the salt dissolves.

Allow the greens to soak for five minutes to kills any bugs and germs. Then rinse the leaves underwater to remove the salt. You have created a saline solution to kill germs and help keep your turnip leaf fresh. 

Step Four

Put the rinsed greens in a sealed plastic bag. Then you can put them in the crisper drawer in your fridge. You can store more than one set of greens in a plastic bag, but you do not want to overstuff the bag.

This can bruise the leaves. The turnip greens can last up to five days in the fridge. They go bad quickly, so plan to eat them soon. 

Option Two – Refrigerating Turnips

Step One

You want to sort through your turnips and look for the bad ones. If you find any turnips that are bruised, damaged, or cut, you want to put them to the side. These turnips will not last long, and you should plan to use them in the coming days.

It would be best if you cut up the turnips you put to the side, making sure to cut off the bruised or cut areas. These turnips are ideal for stew or broth. 

Step Two

You want to run the turnip roots under cold water for a few seconds to get rid of pesticides and dirt. Do not use hot or warm water as this can be more easily absorbed by the turnip and make it spongy. If you plan to keep the turnips for longer than two weeks, you should not wash them.

If you plan to use them within two weeks, washing them helps keep them fresh. 

Step Three

Wrap the turnips in a moist cloth and store them each in their own bag. If the turnips touch each other, it quickest the process of rotting. You want to use a plastic freezer bag that is just big enough to hold the turnip.

You do not want it to have too much extra room in the bag. Check one more time to make sure there are no leaves and stems on top of the turnip. If so, cut them off. If you leave them on, it can cause the turnips to rot faster. 

Step Four

You can place the bag with the turnip root in the crisper drawer of your fridge. The turnips should stay fresh for up to two weeks. You can cook them whenever you are ready in those two weeks.

When you keep them in the crisper drawer, it keeps more humidity in the drawer, and it helps to maintain the flesh and texture of the root. If you can, you might want to turn the crisper up to 95 percent humidity. The temperature should remain between 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

In these conditions, you can store turnip bags for as long as six months. 

Method Three – Long Term Turnip Storage

This is a close look at pieces of purple turnips covered in soil.

Step One

You need a container that is big enough to store all your turnips with a lot of extra room. You want to fill the container halfway with sawdust or moist sand. This will be insulating for the turnips. Peat moss soil is great for insulating, but if it is fresh and not treated, it could contain bugs that will destroy your turnips. 

Step Two 

Do not wash the turnips, as this can cause them to rot faster. Put the turnips in the material with their tops down, making sure they are completely covered. Keep the turnips about two inches away from each other until you have filled the container.

Be sure to keep them two inches away because you do not want them to touch. 

Step Three

Put the lid loosely on the container to provide air to circulate through it. Put the container in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space, like a garage or shed. You want to make sure the container is not on the ground as bugs can get in it.

The turnips can last up to six months in this container, particularly through the fall and winter when the air is colder.

Method Four – Freezing Turnips

These are fresh cubed turnips.

Step One

You want to cut the leaves off all the turnips and wash them under cold water. You want to be sure to remove all dirt and pesticides because they could impact the freezing process. Then you should peel off the outer layer of skin with your hands. You may want to make a small cut in the turnip to allow you to get a better grip. 

Step Two

Get a pot of water and bring it to a rapid boil on your stove. Using a chef’s knife, cut the turnips into cubes that are 0.5 inches. Put your turnips to the side. A great way to cut the turnip is to make a cut lengthwise every 0.5 inches, then turn it 90 degrees. Then cut the turnip at a right angle to your prior cut ever 0.5 inches. 

Step Three

Put the turnip cubes into the boiling water for just about two minutes. This will soften them and prepare them for freezing. After two minutes, strain the water from the pot and put the turnip cubes in cold water for cooling.

After about two minutes, drain the cold water. This is a blanching process that will preserve the turnip while softening and moistening it. This helps them come from the freezer soft and ready for cooking. 

Step Four

Put the turnip cubes in a resealable plastic container. It does not matter if the turnips touch each other. You want to leave about 0.5 inches of space between the top of the turnips and the container.

Then put the container in the freezer. Turnips can last for as long as a year this way, but you should check them occasionally to ensure they do not have freezer burn. 

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