Turnip Greens

When I think of greens, I am immediately transported to the south. Hot days, cypress trees towering over slow moving rivers, the smell of fried chicken and barbecue, and a little bit of banjo music come to mind. While a lot of southern food tends to be infamously unhealthy due to their involvement with a deep fryer, greens are full of good stuff, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium and potassium. 

Not only are turnip greens nutritionally dynamite, they are easy to grow, and keep coming back. In fact, you could cut leaves off while waiting for the turnip root to be sizable enough to eat, and not harm the root growth. Leaves keep coming back throughout the growing season. Keep in mind that hotter weather will yield a stronger, more bitter flavor, and overnight temperatures into the 40s bring out a sweeter flavor. Turnip greens can be canned for enjoyment throughout the winter, but cook down significantly, so you will need a lot for a batch in the canner. 

Turnip greens are incredibly fibrous, so they have to be cooked a long time to be palatable. We opted to cook them in a pressure cooker, which worked incredibly well, and only took ten minutes after it came up to pressure. The popular “instant pot” would work the same, although I don’t have one, so I don’t have wisdom on how to set it up. 

Carolina cooked greens

1 lb turnip greens
1/2 onion, diced
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tsp granulated or 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
6 pieces bacon, finely chopped

  • Wash leaves, then de-stem. Rough chop leaves. 
  • Sweat onions in butter. Add all ingredients except bacon to pressure cooker. 
  • Cook ten minutes once unit is up to pressure. 
  • Use quick release method once cooking is complete. 
  • While greens cook, fry bacon in pan. Spoon greens and onion into pan with bacon. 
  • Stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. 
  • Serve with your favorite southern meal.