Harvest Meal: Turnip and Greens with Bacon

Reading some other blogs, I’ve realize that all of us in the North are starting to experience the transition from cool summer food to warming fall and winter meals. Over a big plate of salad, my husband and I looked at each other and realized that it wasn’t as satisfying as it was earlier this summer and that we’re ready for soup and warm home-cooked meals. Here’s something new we tried and really enjoy: Turnip and Greens with Bacon.

Turnips and bacon

I have a hard time wasting things, so when I thought about eating our turnips, I wondered if you could eat the leafy tops as well. Turns out yes, you can! It seems most people eat them when they are young and tender, but my thought was why would you stunt or k ill your turnips for their greens? But, you can eat the mature greens as well. Obviously they are not sweet and tender like their younger counterparts, but if you cook them, they turn out just fine.

You will need:
Turnip Greens

No specific measurements needed, just use what you would like and take into account how many people are eating. I removed and put the dead or damaged leaves in the compost. The nice looking green ones I pulled off of their main stem (very woody and stringy, not pleasant to eat) and put them in the strainer. Leaves with a little insect damage were still used, but I just ripped around iffy areas. Gave them a good rinse to get off the dirt and then into a pot of boiling water. There I boiled them for about 8 minutes or so. I read that doing this not only wilt and tenders them, but also gets rid of a  lot of the old and bitter taste they can have. When tender, I drained them and put them aside. Meanwhile, I washed and peeled the turnips, sliced them up, and boiled those until tender. Drained and set aside. So now you’re left with cooked turnips and greens. Next, in a large skillet, cook your bacon to your liking. Remove your bacon and let cool. Do NOT drain the bacon grease! You need it! While your bacon is cooling enough to handle, throw your turnips and greens into the pan and let them warm and cook in the flavorful drippings. Cut up your bacon when cool enough to handle, and throw that back into the skillet. Let everything cook together for a few minutes until all the grease has been incorporated and things get warm and encorporated. Add some pepper and you’re done! Serve with some homemade cornbread (I like making cornbread in muffin tins because it’s easier to serve and store and then you have leftovers for breakfast or a snack) and you’re done! It sounds simple, it really is, but it’s quite nice if you like turnip. The greens are pretty bland on their own, but cooked with the turnip and bacon, they really do something mild and nice for the dish. Besides, it throws in more vitamins and looks really nice on the plate!

No doubt our turnips were one of the most successful plantings in the garden- tied with the carrots. We really like them in soups and stews, but now we have one more way to enjoy them.

Huge Turnip

*The biggest turnip we’ve pulled so far*

Weird Turnips

*And a couple weird ones, one actually grew another turnip on it I think? Just goes to show that not everything looks like picture perfect, contrary to what grocery stores show. Luckily, they taste different too (way better!)*

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