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How to Store and Prepare Turnips Greens

Storage and Preparation:

I am a firm believer that turnips greens are best when eaten as soon after they are pulled as possible. I enjoy them in season and tend not to serve them in the middle of winter or in the hot weather of summer when they are sure to be from long storage. If you have been lucky enough to buy turnips greens with the leaves attached, cut them off as soon as you arrive home, leaving 2 to 3 inches of stem. Store the tops or the roots separately. Do not wash either the tops or the roots until just before they will be prepared. Prepare the greens the same day they are purchased. If you are not going to eat the turnips greens the day they are purchased, place the unwashed roots in perforated plastic vegetable bags and keep them in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator for four to five days. Do not plan to keep them for more than a week.

Turnips greens are easy to prepare. They should be thoroughly washed. The stem and root ends need to be trimmed. If the turnips greens are small, and are to be cooked whole or left in wedges or large pieces, I suggest leaving the skin on. Larger turnips, and those that will be grated or mashed, need to be peeled. You can use a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler. Once peeled they can be cut into any shape you like. The French like to cut them into large squares and then pare (or "turn") them into small ovals before cooking them to serve with duck or other poultry. The parings can be used in stocks or soups.

If you are eating the turnips greens raw, as part of a vegetable salad or crudites platter, they can be crisped up by soaking the pieces in ice water for 30 minutes or so. Drain the pieces and dry well before serving.

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