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I just got a lovely bunch of radishes and turnips from the Farmer's market. Giant mass of greens included. Can I use the greens for anything aside from compost? Are they edible? Worthy of salads? Stir frys?

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6 Answers 6

The flavor of turnip greens is very much like mustard greens, just with a bit of the sharp mustard flavor removed. The grocery stores here often sell turnip greens right alongside the mustard greens - without the turnips, since presumably they're a slightly different variety, selected for leaves, not roots. These large leaves are probably a bit tougher than the somewhat smaller ones you're likely to have on your turnips. Incidentally, I see in On Food and Cooking that mustard greens are Brassica juncea, a cross between Brassica rapa (turnip, broccoli rabe, bok choy, napa cabbage) and Brassica nigra (black mustard) - so the flavor similarity is perhaps to be expected!

I use them pretty much as I would mustard greens, in a variety of things - as a standalone dish, in soups, in stir fries, you name it. Depending on your tastes, they might be too strong for salads, and they're also a bit tougher than traditional salad greens. Try a bite and see what you think - I expect if you use it in a salad, you'll probably want to mix it with milder things. To find more ideas, just search for recipes mustard greens.

Radishes are actually in the same family as turnips, and just like the radish itself, the greens have a sharper, perhaps peppery flavor. I usually just toss them in when I'm using other greens, to add a bit of zing. Have a bite of those too and I'm sure you'll decide that they could be an excellent addition to various dishes.

In traditional US Southern cooking, one of the more common places to find these greens, all the bitter greens get boiled forever, to make them extremely soft - but I find that I actually like them cooked more quickly, leaving a pleasant bit of texture. I also don't think they need much special treatment to counter the bitterness (as hobodave mentions) but I do admittedly have a higher tolerance for bitterness than many.

A couple example dishes that really let you taste the greens:

Curried Greens with Golden Onions and Cashews - it calls for spinach, mustard, and dandelion greens, but turnip and radish will work great too.

Turnip Greens and Potato Veloute - it calls for turnip greens, and mentions in the notes that radish greens work well too.

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Turnip greens are a very common food in Southern US cooking. The smaller baby leaves are good for salads since they have a milder flavor and are more tender. Larger leaves are best cooked.

You'll definitely want to rinse them thoroughly in a sink full of cold water. They tend to have a lot of dirt and bugs on them. Just fill the sink and dump your greens in, jostling them around with your hand. This allows the sediment to sink to the bottom.

The typical southern preparation involves boiling them for 30 minutes, dumping the green water (and much of the bitterness), and then boiling another 15 minutes with some bacon or ham hocks. They are then drained, salted to taste, and served with either tabasco, vinegar (malt is good), or butter.

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Radish greens are edible and can be used in salads, although they aren't to everyone's taste (my brother hates them). Or you can try them in a stir fry or cook them similarly to spinach.

I wasn't sure about turnip greens so I looked it up, and they're certainly edible as well! I'll try some next time I have some!

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Radish greens can also be used in soup, especially blended soups.

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I don't know much about radish greens, but you can use turnip greens as you would collards or mustard greens.

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steam for 10-15 minutes + vinegar and/or (vegan) butter == yum! (i can't imagine cooking greens for 30+ minutes -- what would remain after so much heat?)

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