Today, I finished my portion of the 2014 Seed Savers Exchange M-GEN turnip trial. We’ve had some January-like weather in November, but all the turnips took the deep cold without damage. If I was planning to keep them in the ground through the cold, I’d mulch heavily with straw, but so far, they have held up without the mulch so I could complete the trial.
Purple Top White Globe Turnips are easy to find both at the farmers’ market or on the web. Most growers that grow turnips grow this variety; therefore, it was the “control” in this trial to compare the other turnips against.
In my opinion, this was a productive, but not as flavorful variety as the others in the trial. It had the same sharpness as the Purple Top Strap Leaf turnip, but not that turnip’s sulfur flavor (which, if you are eating turnips on their own, could be a good thing). Surprisingly, the combination of sharp and sulfur made the Purple Top Strap Leaf turnip both greens and roots a superior addition to recipes that featured turnips and other strong tastes (for instance, ham hocks and turnip greens and roots were amazing with the Purple Top Strap Leaf turnips which were so strong on their own, I initially hestiated to add them to other recipes. I’m glad I went ahead and did that)
Personally, my favorite in the trial was the Snowball turnip. It was a pleasure to grow, the greens were tasty and the mild turnips were excellent alone or in recipes.
My least favorite was this control, the Purple Top White Globe. It was easy to grow and easily was the largest of the turnips, but it hung out in the middle on flavor — too sharp to eat alone as mashed turnips, like the Snowball and not enough of the sharp/sulfur combo like the Purple Top Strap Leaf to really make turnip recipes pop.
Regardless, here are the photos. First, the roots:
Here are the greens — which filled my Dutch Oven, but cooked down to 1/3 of the space:
And here are the greens and roots of the plants, straight out of the ground:
If you’re new to turnips, Purple Top White Globe is worth getting your practice in on. It’s a decent turnip that will produce well for you with little effort and can take some surprise freezes when winter comes early. But once you’ve learned to grow turnips. I’d suggest you move on to the other heirlooms — they just taste better!