FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE | Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips | Maggie C. Perkins

Introducing shoppers to vegetables they've either never tried, or never liked before is one of the best parts of my job as market chef. This weekend, many turnip haters were converted! One young toddler fussed as his mother pulled him away from the samples-- he continued to push his third serving into his mouth while he reached for more. Good for Mom for introducing him to a variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables at a young age. He'll be reaching past empty calories and making healthier choices early and often.

Turnips are a root vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are available almost year-round as a storage vegetable, freshly harvested in the cool weather months. Look for small to medium tubers that are firm-- they will have a sweet and peppery taste, but grow woody and bitter as they grow larger and mature.

Turnips are high in Vitamin C, providing almost 50% of the RDA of this nutrient per serving. And don't toss those greens! Remove turnip greens once home, and use quickly; they lose nutrients rapidly, but boast 4 times the amount of calcium as milder greens like cabbage. Add them to soups, stews, smoothies. Saute them with a little garlic and maybe a piece of smoked port. Mince fine and tuck them into purees and casseroles. You might even chop them and add them to this quick saute for added nutrient value. Prefer your side a little sweet? A small squeeze of honey towards the end of cooking is a nice option, too.

These Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips were prepared for the Texas Farmers Markets with vendor products and produce provided for demonstration. To find specific contributions, find that recipe posted on the TFM website here. Thank you to vendors Johnson's Backyard Garden, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil, and Pogue Mahone Pickles for working with me, and making my job look so easy.

I'd serve these Balsamic Dijon Glazed Japanese Turnips with a roasted chicken or braised beef, and I think they'd be an ideal addition to the holiday table.

Balsamic Mustard Glazed Japanese Turnips

Serves 2
3 small Japanese turnips (or any small, seasonal turnip)
½ cup water
1T Dijon mustard
2T Balsamic vinegar
1T chopped fresh mint, optional

To a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add turnip pieces and water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until water is reduced by approximately half, and turnips are just tender. Stir in mustard, and balsamic vinegar, allow to come to a rolling simmer, stirring frequently, and cook uncovered until liquid is fully reduced. Garnish with fresh mint if using, toss to blend, and serve.

This weekend at the market's chef demo, I prepared 3 simple, crowd-pleasing side dishes using only a few ingredients each-- and all available at the market. Eating healthy and well need not be complicated or time-consuming when you have access to high quality ingredients. Visit your farmstands, markets, and green grocers this weekend and see the bounty of fresh-from-the-field vegetables your local farmers offer.

Adapting these techniques to your seasonal choices is easy, too! Mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and winter squashes-- all could take a little toss in the pan in combination with or substituted for these sweet little turnips. Check out yesterday's Duck Leg Confit with Braised Red Cabbage for inspiration, and keep an eye out for Blood Orange Cranberry Pomegranate Glazed Carrots, later this week on Notes from Maggie's Farm.

Wishing you a delicious day!

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