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Your child often asks you, “what is a turnip, mommy? ” And you always answer, “it’s not a turnip! It’s a Brassica oleracea! ” But children don’t care about the scientific, Latin name. What they want to know is if the turnip is for the soup or for mashing.turnip, (Brassica rapa, variety rapa), also known as white turnip, hardy biennial plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), cultivated for its fleshy roots and tender growing tops. The turnip is thought to have originated in middle and eastern Asia and is grown throughout the temperate zone. Young turnip roots are eaten raw in salads or pickled, and the young leaves may be cooked and served. The roots are also cooked and served whole or mashed and are used in stews. Though sometimes called yellow, or wax, turnips.
The turnip root is formed by the thickening of the primary root of the seedling together with the base of the young stem immediately above it. The stem remains short during the first year and bears leaves that form a rosettelike bunch at the top of the root. The leaves are grass-green and bear rough hairs. If left to grow a second season, the bud in the centre of the rosette forms a strong, erect, branched stem bearing somewhat glaucous (having a waxy coating), smooth leaves. Stem and branches end in clusters of small cross-shaped bright yellow flowers, which are succeeded by smooth elongated short-beaked seed pods. The turnip or white turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot. The word turnip is a compound of turn as in turned/rounded on a lathe and neep, derived from Latin napus, the word for the plant.
Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock. In the north of England, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall and parts of Canada (Quebec, Newfoundland, Manitoba and the Maritimes), the word turnip (or neep) often refers to rutabaga, also known as swede, a larger, yellow root vegetable in the same genus (Brassica).Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as "turnip greens" ("turnip tops" in the UK), and they resemble mustard greens (to which they are closely related) in flavor. Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late Fall and Winter. Smaller leaves are preferred, but the bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from the initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water. Varieties of turnip grown specifically for their leaves resemble mustard greens and have small or no storage roots. These include rapini (broccoli rabe), bok choy, and Chinese cabbage. Similar to raw cabbage or radish, turnip leaves and roots have a pungent flavor that becomes milder after cooking. (Source:en.wikipedia.org)