The turnip was a daily staple in Europe before potatoes and was a poor person's food during the Middle Ages. Harvested in the fall and winter, turnips are easy to grow. Traditionally cooked in a variety of recipes, you can also eat turnips raw. Writing for "The New York Times," columnist Melissa Clark describes a raw turnip as crisp, juicy and with a hint of tang that complements its sweetness.
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Raw turnips are used for lung congestion in traditional Chinese medicine, states Registered Holistic Nutritionist Sandra Tonn in an article for Alive.com. Turnips are in the cruciferous family, which contain compounds that may help prevent cancer. The vegetable is also high in calcium and vitamin C, but low in calories. Tonn advises moderate consumption if you have thyroid conditions, because the goiter-causing substances in turnips can affect thyroid function. She reminds you to eat the greens too, which are a good source of vitamins E, A and C.