Last night I sautéed turnip greens. They were oh so tasty and a perfect complement to the breaded chicken cutlet and roasted red potatoes. These delectable greens are a delicacy of the South and are usually served with ham hocks but I think they’re just as tasty on their own with a little extra virgin olive oil and a little salt/pepper (the staple seasonings of my kitchen). So here’s your nutritional science lesson on turnip greens.
Health Benefits of Turnip Greens
• The noticeably bitter taste of turnip greens has been linked to its calcium content. On an ounce-for-ounce basis, turnip greens contain about 4 times more calcium than a much less bitter-tasting cruciferous vegetables like cabbage. Even in comparison to mustard greens, turnip greens contain about twice the calcium content. High calcium content is not the only reason for the noticeable bitterness of turnip greens, but a contributing factor.
• For total glucosinolate content, turnip greens outscored cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli among the most commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. The glucosinolates in turnip greens are phytonutrients that can be converted into isothiocyanates (ITCs) with cancer-preventing properties.
• This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and calories. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron and Manganese.
Fresh, Canned & Frozen
When you’re buying turnip greens, choose ones with consistent color, crisp leaves and slender stems. Fresh turnip greens are available from October to March, but canned and frozen turnip greens can be found year-round and have the same nutritional benefits. Check the package to be sure you’re buying greens that are packed in water or flash frozen to maximize nutritional benefits.
Turnip greens contain calcium oxalates, which can cause health problems if they accumulate and crystallize in the body. If you have a history of gall bladder problems or kidney stones, you may want to avoid turnip greens because of their high oxalate content.