Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Turnips ... It's What's For Supper

Being a true southern girl, I plant "greens" every year, and I ain't talkin' 'bout no salad greens. I speak of turnip greens and collard greens. No mustard greens, since they are not my favorite.

I always have an abundance and have tried to offer them to my friends and those I only know in passing. Not a one of those I have offered to share my garden bounty with have had any clue what my greens are. How can this be? I know about foods that are not from the deep south. I am not above trying new foods.

I grew up eating these greens. Always cooked the same way. Ham of some sort boiled in water, add the greens and cook it endlessly. The turnip roots are put in last and boiling continues. Some like a good sprinkling of pepper sauce, and you have to have cornbread (a southern law) on the side. In the event of not having any ham product on hand, a big dollop of "seasoning", aka bacon fat, is added to the water. The water left in the pot after the greens have been removed is referred to as "pot liquor". This is sopped up and eaten with the aforementioned cornbread.

I don't cook mine the same way, I like to leave the fat out. I add my greens to salted water and cook just until they are tender. They can be a little bitter, so I taste mine early in the cooking and will sometimes add a tablespoon of brown sugar. As much as I might prefer my cooking method, I am not at all opposed to eating them at my Mama's, should I be pulling my chair up to her table.

These greens can be frozen, but I prefer mine fresh. Today I strolled the garden and noted that I had quite a few turnips peeking out of the ground. Greens are cool weather plants. The green tops were beyond edible, the snow and freezing temps rendering them yellowed and withered. The turnips were nice and firm, though. So, why not have a big pan of roasted turnips?

I like to roast all kinds of veggies and root veggies lend themselves nicely to this method. So, I cleaned them and cut them into bite-sized chunks, and decided they would pair well with some carrots. I sprinkled them with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt and tossed them in olive oil. Into the oven for about 30 minutes.

I have a favorite new dinner vegetable. They were so good. I am still confused, though. The grocery stores sell them here. How is it that nobody knows what they are? I eat Mexican food, but I am not from Mexico. Love middle eastern food, never been there, though.


Anonymous said...

My mother cooked "greens" for my dad, much like you first described. Cooked to death. I hated them and refused to eat them. Still do.

Kathy G said...

I LOVE turnips! Green, too. I guess because they're overlooked they're usually pretty cheap. I've been roasting a lot of vegetables lately too. Last night was sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm a northern girl, head to toe, and the daughter on back of a lot of farmers. Let's talk beans and greens. And dandelion greens. And other stuff po' folks ate and still eat. And sopping the juice with sweet potato biscuits. Oh, yum. I've never been much exposed to roasted veggies, but have loved them when served. I love turnips, just biled up and served with butter. Seriously, I think it's about being close to the earth.

Val said...

My grandma used to go out to the yard and dig up some greens, then add bacon grease from the Crisco can on the counter that she saved it in. I never tried the greens, nor turnips, though I'm sure Grandma cooked her share of them as well. She had two gardens, one right by the house, and a bigger one across the field. I only helped by hoeing potatoes, and picking tomatoes and cucumbers and corn and cantaloupe and watermelon. Those are what I ate.

luksky said...

I'm a southern girl too, and I'm very familiar with turnip greens and cornbread. I never liked them much because of the bitterness, but if they were masked in the cornbread they were edible. I always loved boiled peanuts..cajun style. Since moving to Texas nobody around here has even heard of boiled peanuts and turn their noses up at the thought of them. They don't know what they are missing!