Turnip greens: properties and benefits in the kitchen

Turnip greens are a well-known and consumed vegetable in Puglia, especially during the winter season. Their flavor is delicate but slightly bitter, and yet very pleasant. They are harvested in the winter season.Turnip greens are collected and cooked when they are still green.

The tops of turnips are very rich in nutritional properties.This vegetable is  rich in mineral salts, including:Calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, iron, manganese, sodium, magnesium, copper, selenium, potassium) The vitamins present are: A, C, J, E, K, B, B2 (folic acid), polyphenols, fibers, folate proteins.Amino acids (aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, serine, proline, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.

The properties of turnip greens:

  • They are detoxifying, help cleanse the body of heavy metals and toxins.
  • They stimulate the appetite, ideal for those suffering from eating disorders and asthenia, excellent for those who are convalescent, of weak constitution or for those who are facing difficult periods.
  • They are rich in iron, help fight anemia, protect and strengthen bones as calcium, allies of pregnant women, thanks to the content of folic acid
  • Vitamin C, turnip greens protect from seasonal evils, also promotes collagen synthesis, helps develop the body’s resistance against infections and accelerates wound healing;
  • The magnesium and chlorophyll content of turnip greens help maintain good spirits and reduce the sense of fatigue by relieving stress;
  • Its bactericidal properties, in particular useful against Helicobacter pylori that due to many gastric problems;
  • The antioxidants present are excellent for keeping young to keep pressure and cholesterol under control, improve blood circulation
  • Useful in keeping diabetes under control, its anti-inflammatory properties are excellent, especially useful against diseases of the respiratory system and against rheumatoid arthritis,

Calories and nutritional values ​​of turnip tops

Every 100 grams of turnip greens contain 32 kcal / 134 kj

Furthermore, for every 100 g of this product we have:

  • Water 86.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 3.1 g
  • Sugars 3,1 g
  • Proteins 4.2 g
  • Fats 0.4 g
  • Total fiber 2.2 mg
  • Vitamin A 5 µg
  • Vitamin C 86 mg


Turnip greens have no particular contraindications, apart from purines, being rich it is not recommended to consume this vegetable to those who suffer from stones, gout and hyperuricemia.

How to cook turnip greens

Turnip greens are eaten cooked, steaming is recommended to keep their nutritional properties intact, excellent even in the oven.

Recipe: orecchiette with turnip tops

A typical recipe from Puglia, which made turnip greens famous in our kitchen.

Ingredients needed

  • 1 bunch of turnip greens
  • 500 grams of durum wheat orecchiette (semolina) from Puglia.
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 hot pepper, (we can also use the powdered one)
  • Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.


  • Boil the turnip greens after cleaning, add a little salt, when they are well cooked drain well. Let’s cook the orecchiette in the broccoli cooking water.
  • Meanwhile in a pan pour extra virgin olive oil, put the garlic, let it brown, then add the turnip greens and sauté the whole thing.
  • Now drain the ears, add them to the pan, sauté and sprinkle with hot pepper.

Collect turnip greens and broccoli

The crop cycle of turnip greens lasts from two to six months, depending on whether you sow early or late varieties. For climatic reasons, late varieties should be grown exclusively in the south or in any case where the temperature is mild.

Choosing the right time for the harvest allows you to have a much better vegetable, when the plant starts to develop it is useful to keep an eye on it, so as to be able to catch the ready-made buds. The inflorescence is collected with flowers still closed, this is the moment of highest product quality, when the vegetables are tastier. If you select the younger inflorescences you have the friarielli , a very common vegetable in really good and refined southern dishes. Today the broccoli are also in fashion, which makes them really in demand.Once the inflorescence has been cut, the plant still manages to give life to lesser shoots, but it is necessary to cut it to a span of height and not below. Turnip greens or broccoli do not last long, they are cooked in different ways.

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