The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat turnip. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What turnip etiquette is

Turnip etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat turnip. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve turnip to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat turnip at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

serving turnip

What you should know about turnip

Turnips are a root vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes other vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. They are grown in temperate climates and are a popular vegetable in many cuisines around the world.

Turnips are usually round or slightly flattened and have a white or yellowish flesh with a purplish-red skin. The texture of turnips can be described as firm and slightly crunchy, and their flavor is slightly sweet and earthy.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat turnip

1) How to store turnip

The ideal temperature to store turnips is between 32-40°F (0-4°C). In the pantry, store turnips in a cool, dark, and dry place for up to two weeks. In the fridge, store turnips in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer for up to four weeks. You can also freeze turnips after blanching. In the freezer, they can last for up to 8 months.

Store sliced or cooked turnips in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

2) How to clean turnip

To clean turnips, rinse them thoroughly under running water and scrub them with a vegetable brush if necessary. There are no major risks associated with cleaning turnips. However, it is important to wash them well to remove any dirt or debris.

Signs that turnips have gone bad include mold, soft spots, and a bad smell.

3) How to prepare & cook turnip

Turnips can be eaten raw or cooked. The most common ways to cook turnips are by roasting, boiling, or sautéing. Roasted turnips can be seasoned with herbs like thyme or rosemary, while boiled turnips can be mashed with butter and seasonings. Raw turnips can be sliced thinly and added to salads for crunch.

Some popular dishes that feature turnips are turnip soup, roasted turnip and carrot salad, turnip gratin, and mashed turnips.

Turnips can be used in salads and sandwiches, either raw or cooked. You can also juice or blende them into smoothies, although they have a strong flavor that might not be for everyone. You can prepare turnips into jam or preserves, although this is less common.

4) How to serve & present turnip

Turnips are appropriate for both formal and informal meals. You can serve them as a side dish, main course, or appetizer. They are less common for breakfast or dessert dishes.

Serve turnips hot or cold, depending on the dish. Present them on a plate or in a bowl with regular serving utensils. No special serving tools are necessary.

You can accompany turnips with a variety of seasonings and accompaniments, including butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs like thyme or rosemary.

5) Food and wine to pair turnip with

Turnips pair well with flavors like mustard, ginger, and lemon. They also pair well with other root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. They can go well with fruit like apples or pears. However, turnips are not ideal with very sweet or acidic fruits like pineapple.

Turnips can pair with cheese and dairy. They pair well with sharp cheeses like cheddar or parmesan. Avoid them with very mild or sweet cheeses like brie or cream cheese.

Turnips can pair with a variety of meats, including beef, pork, and chicken. They also pair well with fish like salmon or cod. It is best to avoid pairing them very strong-flavored meats like lamb or game.

Turnips have a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of wines and beverages. For red wines, try a light to medium-bodied option such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. For white wines, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are good choices. Avoid heavy or tannic red wines that could overpower the delicate flavor of turnips. Turnips also pair well with beer, especially lighter styles like pilsners or lagers. Rosé wine, sparkling wine, and dessert wine are not typical pairings with turnips. As for spirits, gin or vodka are ideal in cocktails that include turnip juice.

6) How to eat turnip

Turnips can be eaten with a fork and knife, and it is not customary to eat them with your fingers. You can eat the entire turnip, including the skin if it is washed and cleaned properly.

Turnip etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common turnip etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Not properly cleaning turnips.
  • 6/10. Not properly seasoning or pairing turnips with complementary dishes.
  • 6/10. Serving turnips undercooked or overcooked.

Additional information for properly serving turnip

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly planning a menu.

Turnips are low in calories, with about 36 calories per 100 grams or approximately 17 calories per serving.

How to buy the best turnip

A crucial factor in turnip etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Turnips are available all year round, but their peak season is from October to March.

Choose the best

Turnips can be found fresh in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, as well as canned or pickled in jars.

There are several popular varieties of turnip, including Purple Top, White Globe, Tokyo Cross, and Golden Globe. The Purple Top is the most common variety found in stores, while the Tokyo Cross and Golden Globe are more commonly used in Asian cuisine. There isn’t necessarily a “most prized” variety, as it depends on personal preference and intended use.

When buying turnips, look for ones that are firm, heavy for their size, and have smooth skin without any major blemishes or bruises. The greens should also be fresh and brightly colored. If buying turnips with greens attached, make sure the greens are not wilted or yellowed. Smaller turnips tend to be sweeter and more tender than larger ones.

Alternatives to turnip

Some common alternatives to turnips include rutabagas, parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, which can be used in similar ways in recipes.


  • A Critical Review on Phytochemical Profile and Biological Effects of Turnip: