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If you are looking for vegetables to add to your recipes, or maybe want something new to plant, then you might get a little mixed up on turnips and radishes. A lot of vegetables can be mixed up and confused with each other, and these two root vegetables are no different. They are both quite different when you look at them in more depth, and both have very different flavors which can be used in a lot of dishes. They are both a root vegetable, turnip vs radish, let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
What is a turnip?
Turnips are a root vegetable from the brassica genus family, not to be confused with the brassica Rapa, and they are thought to have originated in middle and Eastern Asia. Younger turnips are known to house more sweetness and a hint of spice when being compared to older turnips. Turnips also can be known as white turnips, and are used in many different recipes such as stews and salads. Larger turnips are often given to animals and livestock as they can be very nutritious.
Can you eat turnip greens?
Turnip greens are the leafy bits that stick out of the ground during the farming of turnips. They are often thought to not be edible so they are discarded but this is false. They are perfectly fine for eating and work well as a replacement for lettuce or other hearty leaves. Make sure to wash them first and rinse them as they have been sticking out of the ground for a while. After this, they can be eaten raw or can be steamed and cooked similar to kale. They work well with butter and salt and can pair as a nice side to a meaty meal such as steak.
What is a radish?
Radishes are an edible root vegetable that comes from a family of crops known as the Raphanus genus. Radishes are quite similar to turnips in terms of both being root vegetables but radishes are not often cooked. Radishes come in a lot of shapes and sizes so it can sometimes be problematic to categorize them. However, they are known for having a very sharp flavor which is exceptionally unique.
While both are similar-looking vegetables, radishes are significantly smaller than turnips and are also a lot redder. Similar to turnips, radish greens can be eaten but the green leaves can sometimes have a fuzzy texture which can be off-putting.
Health benefits of them both
Both turnips and radishes are insanely healthy and boast a lot of health benefits. They are welcome additions to anyone’s diet as they will increase your health considerably.
Radish health benefits
Radishes are known for being a good source of antioxidants. More specifically they contain catechin, pyrogallol, vanillic acid, and other phenolic compounds. They are also a great source of vitamin C which is another antioxidant. Other health benefits of radishes include;
- Reduced risk for diabetes
- Enhanced liver function
- Cardiovascular improvement
The chemical compounds in radishes known as glucosinolate and isothiocyanate help regulate your blood sugar levels. As well as this, radishes also enhance your body’s adiponectin production, which is a hormone that helps protect your insulin resistance. The coenzyme Q10 is also found in radishes and it helps block the formation of diabetes.
Alongside other compounds, radishes are filled with indole-3-carbinol and 4-methylthio-3-butenyl-isothiocyanate, which helps the liver detoxify and heal against damage. These same compounds can help flush toxins from the liver.
Radishes are especially rich in antioxidants such as calcium and potassium. These nutrients help lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Radish is also a good source of natural nitrates that will help improve your blood flow.
Daikon radish can also be made into a paste, this radish paste can help reduce scarring and skin rashes significantly.
Turnip health benefits
Turnips are highly nutritious while also being very low in caloric density. As well as this, a good-sized turnip has half of your daily vitamin C. Raw or cooked turnips are high in fiber and help reduce the risk of inflammation of the colon as well as reducing the risk of diverticulosis. Diets that include high fiber vegetables can help relieve constipation and promote regularity.
Research has also linked a high amount of turnip intake lowers your risk of developing cancer thanks to the sulforaphane found within it. The antioxidants in turnips help fight free radicals and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
The turnip greens are also nutritious as they include a lot of calcium which is known to help strengthen the bones and teeth, which becomes more and more important with age. Naturally, turnips are found in a lot of low calory diets as they have few calories but a lot of nutritional benefits which is why they are such a popular crop.
Turnips are also a natural diuretic, like cabbage, and help remove the excess sodium from your body. Turnips are also known to help your immune system. Other than this, turnips are also great for;
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing cancer risk
- Aiding weight loss and digestion
How can they both be used in cooking?
Radishes will greet your taste buds with a zesty and crisp flavor with a slight hint of sweetness. After this there will be a note of spice, the older the radish is, the spicier it will be. They also have a crunchy texture which makes them great for salads.
Raw radish is most commonly used in salads and cut into smaller pieces or sliced and put in sandwiches. Korean radishes especially are great in salads and add a lot of flavors overall. You can cook radish but they are best when raw as they have an exceptionally good crunch.
Radishes belong in salads, and pair wonderfully with hard-boiled eggs in a sandwich. The radish leaves can also be used in salads, as they provide a nice flavor that is different from a lot of other leaves.
Turnips can be eaten in many different ways. Raw turnips are less common but they are said to taste a lot like cabbages yet a little milder. Turnips are most commonly roasted before being eaten. Roasted turnips are simple to make and only require a little dash of olive oil or a mix of oils.
They pair well with melt in the mouth roast beef and can sit on the side with an extra drizzle of olive oil and some season such as salt and pepper. Raw turnips can find themselves in salads for the most part but can also be eaten by themselves when cut into slices.
Turnips are also great for making vegetable stock and medium-sized turnips can just be sliced and thrown in to add flavor.
Can they be eaten raw?
Both turnip and radish can be eaten while raw. These two vegetables have a crunch texture but have different flavors. When raw, a turnip will have an earthy taste and will be similar to anything found in the cabbage family. When consumed raw, a radish will have a spicy aftertaste but a nice general zest and sweetness beforehand.
Radishes are great and taste amazing raw, they are often said to taste better than turnips but if prepared correctly, turnips can taste just as good.
Other similar root vegetables
While turnips and radishes are delicious, there are a lot of other root vegetables out there that offer a similarly great flavor. They are all great vegetables and have good health benefits. Root vegetables should find their way into everyone’s diet. Other popular root vegetables are;
- Spanish onions
All of these have amazingly unique taste values and can be cooked or eaten raw. Some of these will be better used in a salad, whereas the others you can cook and throw in a stew to help add flavor to it. The carrots, onions, and celeriac are especially good for helping to flavor broths and soups as they are aromatics.
Turnip Vs Radish. The main difference
While both are delicious and taste amazing, they have some main differences. Turnips are larger than radishes and have a more earthy and subtle flavor.
Radishes are bright red, generally quite small, and have a sharp spicy flavor which gets better as they age. Aside from flavor and how they look, turnips can be used in a more versatile way whereas radishes shine when kept raw and used in salads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is healthier turnips or radishes?
Both are very healthy. However, it is hard to compare them as they are both healthy for different reasons. Turnips are high in nutrients while being low in calories whereas radishes are known to improve cardiovascular health. Both make great additions to your diet.
Is daikon a radish or a turnip?
The daikon radish is known as a winter radish. It is a similar shape to a carrot and is completely white with the exception of the green leaves it has. The flavor is similar to a radish yet a lot milder.