We may call Macomber Turnips "turnips," but they are actually a cross between two other root vegetables: a radish and a rutabaga. Huge like a rutabaga and spicy like a radish, they have a creamy, white flesh and an unusual sweetness. Brothers Adin and Elihu Macomber -- farmers and tinkerers, and fans of the turnip as an hearty, reliable and inexpensive crop -- first developed the vegetable in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. In the Northeast, Macomber turnips grow throughout the summer and fall, and last well in cold storage over the wintertime.
* To store, keep in the fridge drawer in a loose plastic bag. Stored this way, Macomber turnips can last up to four months. (At harvest-time, turnips often come often with greens, which are edible, but always remove leaves from root vegetables so that they do not draw moisture from the bulb.)
*To prepare, scrub well and peel. You can then steam (30 minutes for 1-inch chunks), boil (20 minutes for 1-inch chunks), bake (45 minutes at 400 degrees), or mash (try combining with potatoes). Macomber turnips are also delicious raw.
RECIPE of the month:
You may think of Macomber Turnips as a plain winter vegetable, but they have a nice combination of sweetness and spice. Spice ‘em up a little more with this recipe!
* 2 T. olive oil
* 1 large onion, thinly sliced
* 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
* 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
* 1 T. curry powder
* 1 tsp. each ground cumin, coriander, and whole mustard seeds
* 1/2 tsp. turmeric
* 2 cups fresh turnips, peeled and diced
* 1 14-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
* 2/3 cup water
* 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot on medium heat. Saute onions until golden.
2. Add the ginger and garlic, stir 2 minutes more, and then add the spices, stirring well to cook.
3. Stir in the turnips, tomatoes, water, sugar and salt. Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add fresh cilantro and taste. Serve.
-- Thanks to Just Food for the turnip tips, and Community Cook Louise Noel for the recipe! For more recipes, check out the Corbin Hill blog and Facebook page.