Do you shy away from using turnips in your baby food recipes? If so, is that because YOU dislike them… so you think your baby will too?
Then read on – because turnips really CAN be delicious if you know just how to choose and prepare them.
On this page we’re going to share with you some easy but truly tempting turnip recipes.
And hopefully we’ll convince you that those waterlogged (and, frankly, evil smelling!) veggies you may recall from your childhood are NOT what you’ll be serving up to your baby food connoisseur!
NOTE: Remember to check with your doctor before introducing turnips to your baby. The information provided here is for guidance only and does not replace professional medical advice.
Turnips – which are cruciferous vegetables related to broccoli and cabbage – contain plenty of vitamins and minerals to enhance your baby’s diet. Rich in vitamins A and C, turnips also provide
They contain phytonutrients, those important compounds that are believed to help prevent cancer.
What’s more, some people find that eating turnips can help relieve congestion, probably because of their high vitamin C content.
So a nice turnip puree may be just what the doctor ordered if your little one is suffering from a cold (more tips here for feeding a congested baby).
Some people have even reported some relief from the symptoms of asthma after eating turnips, another potential benefit to take into account!
Don’t let the reputation of turnips put you off!
Unfortunately, turnips have the reputation of being bitter and rather smelly!
It’s true that larger, older turnips can produce quite an ‘aroma’ whilst they’re cooking and have a fairly pungent flavour that some may find unpleasant.
However, the secret is to ONLY buy turnips that are young and small – around the size of a ping pong ball.
They taste MUCH sweeter than larger turnips, their texture is better and they produce barely any smell at all during cooking. In fact, small turnips are SO good that they can be eaten raw (grated in a salad, for example); older turnips absolutely MUST be cooked.
Please note, though, that we don’t recommend introducing raw turnips to your baby – these can be saved for when he’s older and chewing well!
A good tip to eliminate bitterness in slightly larger turnips…
…is to cook them by boiling them in a little water, along with a peeled potato.
Any bitterness will be absorbed by the potato, which can then be discarded.
It’s also a good idea to boil larger turnips with the lid off. The smelly gases produced will dissipate into the air, rather than being absorbed back into the veggie and affecting the flavour.
Turnips can be introduced (with your doctor’s consent) from 6 months of age.
Some parents may be concerned that turnips cause gas (wind), although we’ve never found this to be a problem with young, sweet turnips. Luckily for us, our babies have always loved them!
If, however, you feel that your baby is prone to gas, then you may wish to wait until later in baby’s first year to introduce them.
We actually think it’s a good idea to get your baby accustomed to the flavour of turnips quite early, as they have that earthy, ‘vegetable-y’ flavour that can be quite difficult to introduce to older children.
Our experience has been that including earthy vegetables like turnips and swede (rutabaga) early on has made our children very receptive to veggies in general… and not just the more popular ‘sweeter’ vegetables like carrots and sweet potato!
As with any new food, though, remember to introduce turnips separately, using the four day rule. This will help you identify them as the cause of any potential digestive upset or reaction.
As we mentioned earlier, selecting the perfect turnip is key to preparing turnip baby food recipes that your little one will actually enjoy!
In addition to being small, the ideal turnips to cook for your baby will have smooth skin and should not look at all shrivelled. They should also have a nice, sweet aroma.
Turnips are usually creamy white in colour, with tinges of purple, green or even red!
People sometimes mistake turnips for swedes (rutabagas), but swedes tend to have a darker skin and their flesh is more orange in colour. Swedes tend to be larger than turnips, too – and are always bigger than the very small turnips that we recommend seeking out for use in your baby food recipes.
Turnips are sometimes sold with their leaves (turnip greens) still attached. These are edible and can be removed and cooked separately – but when they ARE attached to the turnip, make sure they are fresh and green and don’t look wilted.
Remove the greens from the turnips before storing them in the fridge, where they’ll keep for 7 to 10 days.
Young, small turnips don’t need to be peeled (although there are some situations where you may prefer to remove the skin – please see this page for more information about whether or not to peel fruits and vegetables for your baby).
If you buy larger turnips, then they MUST be peeled, because the skins will be tough and indigestible.
Remove the greens, peel if necessary and cut into dice. Steam for 5 to 10 mins until tender (the smaller the dice, the faster they’ll cook).
Prepare for cooking as above, then boil – uncovered – in a little water for 5 to 10 mins until tender. If you are using larger turnips, try adding a potato to absorb the bitterness. It’s also useful to change the water half-way through the cooking time.
Very young turnips can be baked whole at 375 deg F (180 deg C) for around 30 to 45 mins until tender. Don’t peel them first; if you don’t want your baby to eat the skins, then slip them off once they’ve cooked – it’s easier than peeling them!
Toss turnip dice in olive oil and roast for around 45 mins at 325 deg F (160 deg C). Slow roasting at a low temperature really brings out the sweetness of the turnips – and roast turnip dice make a delicious finger food!
Saute diced turnips in olive oil – or even in a little chicken or vegetable broth – for 5 to 10 mins until tender.
Use any of the methods described above to cook the turnip, then puree in a food processor until smooth, adding water, broth or breast milk/formula to thin the mixture if necessary.
You can pep up your puree with any of the following
NOTES: Avoid cooking turnips in iron or aluminium cooking pots – it turns them an unappealing, dark colour.
You can also use turnips interchangeably with swede/rutabaga in your recipes.
Once you’ve cooked up some turnips for your little one, here are some ideas to make them interesting for him and so delicious he’ll definitely want seconds!
You may also like…
Potato and Turnip Puree with Pear (on our Vegetarian Baby Food Recipes page)
Cheesy Turnip Bake (from our blog)
We hope that your baby enjoys these turnip baby food recipes. And if you have any tasty turnip baby food ideas of your own, please do let us know!