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Turnip tops or turnip greens are a special variety of turnips. Sometimes the terms are used for the leaves of normal turnips, which are edible as well. The subspecies Brassica rapa var. rapifera subvar. pabularia is closely related but grown for its leaves only. It belongs to the biological cabbage family (lat.: Brassicaceae or Cruciferae). Turnip tops are a leaf vegetable. They are closely related to May turnips, white turnips and Teltow turnips. While turnips are grown for their roots, turnip tops are sown much closer together and harvested very early, before large roots can form. The leaves should still be small and tender.


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Turnip top storage

Turnip tops are a typical spring vegetable. In Europe the 10 to 25 cm long leaves are sold between April and June. Where it is a popular vegetable, for example in the Netherlands and the German Rhineland, it is grown in hothouses year-round. Turnip tops are sold as a bunch and have to be prepared as soon as possible. At 2 to 5 °C they keep 2 to 3 days, at 0 to 1 °C and high humidity they may be stored up to 8 days.


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Preparation of turnip tops


Turnip tops may be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves should always be washed under running water. Young and tender leaves are well suited for salads. Recipes for Belgian endives may be used for turnip tops. In the German Rhineland region boiled turnip tops are served with cooked potatoes tossed in butter and rissoles.


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