Days are gone when turnips were relegated to side dishes at Thanksgiving. Today, they make a hearty centerpiece for every meal, adding a sweet flavor and satisfying texture. Yet many people struggle with how to cook them properly in the microwave.
So, what’s the deal?
It turns out turnips have a bitter, savory flavor that doesn’t always appeal to some palates. Furthermore, the hard skin, particularly in mature bulbs, takes too long to cook through. Fortunately, microwaving can transform this humble root vegetable into a delectable treat.
Here’s how to fix turnips in microwave.
Wash the turnip thoroughly under cold water before dicing it into small cubes. Place the chopped pieces in a single layer on a shallow microwavable dish and sprinkle with water.
Cover with a lid and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. Remove the dish halfway through cooking and give the turnips a gentle stir. Continue cooking until they’re fork-tender.
For more insights on turnips, including why you need them, if they’re microwavable, how to get rid of their bitterness, how long they take to cook, whether or not you should peel them, and much more, read on!
Any person looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake will tell you that turnips are an excellent choice. Like other brassica root vegetables, they’re low-calorie but pack plenty of nutrient quantities.
For your troubles, here’s a nutritional profile of turnips.
For instance, I analyzed 100 grams (about 3 1⁄2 ounces) of raw turnip and found the following:
- 2 grams of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of Sugars
- 5 grams of dietary fiber
- 1 grams of protein with negligible amounts (<1 gram) from sugar and fat
- 4 mg of vitamin C
- 88 mg of vitamin E
- 137 mg of Calcium
- 22 mg of magnesium
- 8 mg of iron
And contrary to conventional wisdom, you can eat both the roots and the leaves. In fact, as evidenced by our analysis above, the two are high in vitamin C, protecting your cells from free radical damage. Also, decent amounts of magnesium, iron, and calcium contribute to your overall health and well-being.
But the most contentious aspect of this root vegetable has to be whether you can microwave it. So let’s look into that claim.
Can You Microwave Turnips
Yes, microwaving is an easy and quick way to turn raw turnips into a ready-to-eat dish. However, due to their slightly bitter, spicy undertone and high nutrient content, you must exercise caution when cooking them.
So, does microwaving turnips eliminate their bitterness? What about their nutrient value?
Although some people eat turnips raw, their potent flavor and slight spiciness make them unpalatable. However, cooking mellows out these flavors, making them more tolerable and edible. And one such cooking method is microwaving.
Traditionally, turnips are best prepared by roasting, boiling, steaming, or frying. But for those looking for an easier, less time-consuming preparation, microwaving offers the perfect solution. My favorite aspect about this cooking method is that I get all of the turnip’s nutrients without spice.
The key to high nutrient retention is to avoid overcooking the turnip pieces. Remember, microwaves cook food at much higher temperatures than traditional stovetops or ovens. Leaving your microwave unattended or cooking your turnips too long can result in soggy, over-cooked vegetables with lost nutritional value.
How Long Do You Put Turnip in Microwave
Typically, it will take 8-10 minutes to microwave 100 grams of turnip. However, this time can vary depending on your microwave’s wattage and the turnip’s age and size.
So, why the long wait? Well, let me explain.
Turnips have long been my least favorite root vegetable. Honestly, I could never get them right. They were either too hard, took forever to cook, or tasted terrible raw. This is an experience many turnip enthusiasts have had at some point.
But is this perception rational, or are we casting judgment prematurely?
To answer this question, you must first acknowledge the critical role that time plays in cooking turnips. A second too much or too little can make all the difference between a good-tasting, crisp turnip and one that tastes like leathery death. However, to get the time right, there are factors to consider:
- The Microwave Wattage: Lower wattages result in longer cooking times; vice versa for higher wattages. If unsure of your microwave’s power ratings, consult the owner’s manual before proceeding.
- The Age of the Turnip: Age significantly affects microwaving turnips. Younger turnips are soft and tender, but as they mature, their texture becomes tougher, requiring more cooking time.
- The Size of the Turnips: The larger the turnip, the less the surface area is exposed to heat, resulting in a longer cooking time. Conversely, smaller turnips require less time than larger ones.
In a nutshell, adjust the cooking time to your microwave’s wattage, choose younger turnips if possible, and slice larger turnips into smaller pieces. You’ll thank yourself later!
Do You Have To Peel Turnips Before Cooking?
Peeling turnips is entirely at your discretion. However, there are times when it is necessary, and other times it is not.
So, what’s the verdict? Peel or don’t peel the turnips?
For starters, turnips belong to the Brassica family and are cousins to rutabagas, radishes, and potatoes. They are nutrient-dense and low in calories, making them an excellent addition to any diet.
Turnip skin, in particular, is high in fiber, keeping you full for longer periods. It also contains antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radical damage and boost your immune system. For these reasons, peeling turnips may deprive you of these essential nutrients.
On the other hand, peeling turnips have its benefits. Unlike most family members, turnips have a mildly spicy taste that makes them unpalatable. This is highly evident in mature versions of the vegetable, which develop black spots on their exterior. In such cases, it is best to peel off the skin before consuming.
Peeling is also necessary to avoid foodborne illnesses and other health problems. Remember that turnips grow in soil and are thus inherently dirty, contaminated with agrochemicals, and infested with bacteria. Although peeling will not eliminate these contaminants, it will significantly reduce their exposure risk.
Tips for Microwaving Turnips
Every game has its own set of rules, and microwaving turnips is no exception. Below are some quick tips for microwaving turnips without making a mess.
- Select fresh, young, firm turnips with an even color. I suggest you avoid old, gnarly-looking ones as they have a tough texture and a savory spiciness.
- Trim off both ends of the turnip using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Next, clean the vegetable thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt. If necessary, scrub them with a soft brush.
- Cut the turnip into bite-sized pieces. I particularly enjoy quartering turnips as it makes mashing them later easier. In contrast, a whole turnip means less surface area exposed to the heat, resulting in slower cooking. So, it’s in your best interest to avoid it.
- Do not overcrowd your turnip pieces. Instead, place them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate or dish to avoid the dreaded turnip steam.
- Cover loosely with a microwavable lid or plastic wrap to prevent steam from escaping from the vegetables. However, do not cover them too tightly, as this will trap moisture and result in soggy turnips.
- Avoid microwaving your turnips in plastic or Styrofoam containers as they can melt, leaching toxins into your food. Instead, opt for glass, ceramic, or any other microwave-safe material.
How to Cook Turnips in Microwave
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to roast your turnips, cooking them in the microwave is a quick and easy option.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking turnips in the microwave:
1. Remove Unwanted Parts
Cut away any bruised, rotten, or damaged section of the turnip. Don’t forget to trim the stem ends, which are usually tough and woody.
2. Wash Thoroughly
As with any root vegetable, dirt accumulates on the turnip’s exterior. As a result, wash the bulbs in cold water, gently scrubbing stubborn dirt with a soft brush or dishcloth if necessary.
3. Slice into Small Pieces
Once washed, cut the turnip into thick (1/2-inch) rounds or wedges. The goal here is to expose as much of the turnip’s surface area to heat as possible, speeding up the cooking process. I prefer mine in wedges because they make for crisp edges, but either way is fine.
However, note that peeling is optional.
4. Arrange the Pieces on a Microwavable Dish
Place the sliced turnips in a single layer on a shallow microwavable dish. Sprinkle water over the slices to keep them from drying out while cooking.
5. Cover with a Microwaveable Lid or Plastic Wrap
If your microwave-safe dish lacks a lid, a plastic wrap will suffice. The trapped steam will ensure your turnips are tender and moist.
6. Nuke on High Power for 8-10 Minutes
Put your turnips in the microwave and cook on high for about eight minutes. After the five minutes, remove them from the microwave, stir, and put them back in until tender enough to pierce with a fork or knife.
7. Remove from the Microwave and Season
Once done, carefully remove the turnips from the microwave and season to taste. I love my turnips with just enough salt and pepper to bring out their natural sweetness. However, feel free to spice things up with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, or turmeric—whatever tickles your fancy.
Faqs On How to Cook Turnips in Microwave
1. Is it better to boil or steam turnips?
Both methods are excellent for cooking turnips, but steaming is the most preferred. Unlike boiling, steaming turnips maintain more of their flavor and nutrients. This is because steaming utilizes little water, resulting in fewer vitamins and minerals leaching out of the turnip.
2. How do you make turnips taste good?
After cooking, garnish your turnip dish with a knob of butter, a sprinkle of salt, or some grated Parmesan cheese. You could also try adding parsley for an extra flavor boost. If that’s not enough, stir a nutmeg into Greek yogurt before mashing it with cooked turnips.
3. Are turnips healthier than potatoes?
While both turnips and potatoes are nutritious, turnips have fewer calories per serving. The low-calorie count makes them an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight. Furthermore, they boast a higher level of vitamin C, which helps protect cells from damage. However, to reap the full benefits, consume both vegetables.
4. How do you make mashed turnips not bitter?
Begin by first selecting young, fresh turnips with no blemishes. Second, peel and slice them into one-inch cubes. Third, cook the turnip cubes on high heat until fork-tender. Finally, mash them up with a dash of butter and sugar to offset the bitterness.
5. How do you know when turnips are cooked?
Turnips are done when they are fork tender. However, don’t overcook them, or they’ll become too soft and mushy. Keep an eye on your turnips and stir them occasionally to ensure they cook evenly.
6. What goes well with turnips?
Turnips pair well with a variety of ingredients. For a quick side dish, serve them steamed alongside a piece of chicken or pork. They also make an excellent appetizer when cut into bite-sized pieces and served alongside your favorite dip. Don’t forget that they make an excellent substitute for potatoes in soups and stews.
7. Is it okay to eat raw turnips?
Eating turnips raw is completely safe and has no adverse consequences. In fact, they are high in potassium, vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients, which positively affect your health. To counteract the bitter taste of mature turnips, cook them before eating them.
8. Who should not eat turnips?
A person suffering from thyroid disorders should not eat turnips, as they are high in compounds that can interfere with proper thyroid function. Similarly, if you’re on nitrate medication, avoid turnips because their high nitrate content may increase your risk of heart disease.
Microwaving turnips is a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table. This method requires minimal prep time, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your day. It also preserves turnips nutrients that would otherwise get lost during the boiling process.
However, these vegetable roots have a bitter flavor that makes them distasteful to most people. As a result, select fresh, firm turnips with no blemishes or bruising and cook them for the recommended time. Do this, and I assure you of an appealing, tender turnip without the bitter aftertaste.