Turnips are a root vegetable. They taste like a cross between cabbages and radishes. They are bitter when raw but have a distinctive mild spicy tang when cooked.
They are versatile and can be roasted, made into a mash whether on their own or with other vegetables such as carrots or swede (see also Freezing Rutabaga), they can be caramelized, or made into fries. You could also make a soup out of turnips or add them to stews or soups.
However, what if they’re on sale and you buy them in bulk? How do you preserve them? The answer is simple, freeze them. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze turnips and how to defrost them (see also Can You Freeze Kohlrabi?).
How To Freeze Raw Turnips
1. Clean the turnips.
Throw away any that have become soft as freezing won’t return them to their original texture.
2. Blanch the turnips.
We recommend that you blanch the turnips. This halts enzymatic activity that leads to decay. First of all, put a pot of water on to boil. You don’t need to season the water as you’re not cooking the turnips. While the water is boiling, peel the turnips and cut them into equal-sized cubes. Once the water has boiled, add the turnips and boil for 90 seconds. Then take them out and plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain.
3. Flash freeze.
Spread out the turnip cubes on a baking tray making sure that they aren’t touching each other. This means that they won’t stick together when you put them in freezer bags. Put the tray in the freezer for three to four hours until the outside of the cubes are frozen solid.
4. Put the turnip cubes into a freezer bag.
Make sure that you squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag. This will stop freezer burn from occurring. The turnips will still be safe to eat but they will lose taste and texture. Put a label on the bag with the date frozen and the contents. You don’t want to keep the turnips in the freezer for longer than they should be frozen for. In addition, if you are freezing similar vegetables such as parsnips and swede, you might not be certain what is in the freezer bag.
How To Freeze Cooked Turnips
It is also possible to freeze cooked turnips which can save time when you come to take them out of the freezer.
Freezing Roasted Turnips
Roasted turnips are delicious but it does take some time to prepare them. What’s better than roasting them in advance when you have the time. Then, after a hard day at work, you can just take them out of the freezer and have an easy side dish. This is the way to freeze roasted turnips.
1. Roast the turnips.
Peel the turnips and then cut them into cubes. Toss the turnips in olive oil and add salt and pepper. You can add other seasonings if you wish. Chili is a good choice as is paprika. You could add garlic, cumin, or rosemary. All are good matches. Once you have done this, put the turnips together with the olive oil onto a roasting pan. Put the pan in the oven and roast the turnips for 30 minutes at 400F.
2. Cool down the turnips.
Cool down the turnip cubes. Make sure that you don’t leave them at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise bacteria may start to form. To speed up the process, drain off excess oil and transfer the roasted turnips into a cold pan.
3. Flash freeze.
Lay out the roasted turnips on a baking tray, making sure that the turnip cubes aren’t touching each other. Wrap the pan with cling film to stop freezer burn from occurring. Put the tray in the freezer for a few hours.
4. Put the roasted turnips in freezer bags.
Squeeze out as much air as possible to stop freezer burn. Put a label on the bag with the date frozen and the contents.
How To Freeze Mashed Turnips
1. Make the turnip mash.
Peel and chop the turnips. Put them in a pan of boiling water with salt and pepper and boil until the turnips are soft. When the turnips are cooked, put them in a cold bowl to speed up the cooling process. Add butter, and milk or cream. Mash the turnips.
2. Put the turnip mash in freezer bags.
It is a good idea to divide it into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much as you need and don’t waste any. Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags and put labels on them.
Tips For Freezing Turnips
- Blanch the turnips to stop the chance of bacteria forming and to lengthen the life of the turnips in the freezer.
- Squeeze out the air from the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur.
- Cooking the turnips before freezing will save you time when you want to eat them.
For How Long Can You Freeze Turnips?
You can keep both raw and cooked turnips in the freezer for up to six months. They will still be safe to eat after this time but they will start to lose taste and texture. As long as you label your freezer bags with the date frozen, you shouldn’t have a problem taking your turnips out on time.
How Do You Defrost Turnips?
In most cases, you don’t have to defrost turnips. You can cook them frozen, which is a great time saver. If you have frozen raw turnips, cook them in the way you want, be it boiling or roasting. You can add the turnips directly into soups or stews. If you have frozen cooked roasted turnips, put them on a baking tray with some olive oil and roast until cooked through.
The only exception to this rule is turnip mash. This you do have to defrost in the fridge. Leave it overnight until it is fully defrosted. Then you can heat it up over a low heat. Add some butter, milk, or cream to make it smooth.
Can You Refreeze Turnips?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze turnips. This is because when you freeze, defrost, and freeze again, bacteria can start to form, and you could become sick. The texture will also be broken down and the turnips may also start to lose flavor.
The best thing to do is to freeze in meal-size portions so that you only defrost what you need. This will avoid unnecessary wastage.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Turnips?
Yes, it’s a great idea to freeze turnips. In fact, if you follow our instructions, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between fresh turnips and ones that have been frozen. The only exception to the rule is mashed turnip as the texture can change. However, adding some butter and cream to it when defrosted may help to restore the original texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing turnips. However, if you are still curious about freezing turnips or turnips in general, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze turnip greens?
Turnip greens are the leaves of the turnip plant. They are smaller and milder than other greens such as collards and mustard. They are also very tender. They can be used in any recipe that has greens such as spinach or kale in them. They can be frozen but you are best off blanching them first for 30 seconds so that they retain their nutrients. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals and you want to take advantage of this. They can be frozen in either freezer bags or airtight containers and can be kept in the freezer for up to nine months.
Can you freeze a mix of turnip mash with carrots, swede, or parsnips?
Yes, you can cook turnips with any of these vegetables and make mash out of them. The more butter and cream you add, the better it will freeze. It is a good idea to freeze the mash in meal-size portions so that you don’t waste any. Put the mash in freezer bags and squeeze out the air to stop freezer burn from occurring.
Are there any good recipes with turnips that you can suggest?
Add them to an Irish stew or sautee the turnips with parsnips and rosemary. If you’re vegetarian, make chickpea and turnip curry. Turnips also go well with a beef dish.