Turnip greens, with their pleasantly pungent taste, are a typical Italian vegetable, especially valued in the southern and central regions. They belong to the Brassicaceae (or cruciferae) family, like broccoli, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, green cabbage, etc. The part you eat is the inflorescence, also known as friarielli (in Campania) or broccoletti (in Lazio).
Turnip greens… around the world
According to the working theory, turnip greens were imported from the Far East by genoese sailors and then farmed by the French. However, one thing’s certain: most of the national production is concentrated in Apulia and Campania,, to a lesser degree in Lazio. We grow the classic barese turnip, that develops sturdier stalks, lots of long and indented green leaves, and medium-small inflorescence. This prominently Italian vegetable spread abroad with Italian immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, so much so that nowadays you can find it in America and Australia.
Turnip greens in the kitchen
Turnip greens are used quite a lot in traditional southern Italian cuisine. In fact they’re the main ingredient in many typical dishes. In Apulia recipes abound: from the renowned orecchiette (fresh pasta), to the filling of calzone (stuffed pizza dough), not to mention the legendary neapolitan pizza with salsicce e friarielli. The only caution, to fully benefit from its goodness and properties, is to avoid overcooking it, only choosing the tender parts. Steaming is definitely the way to go.
Turnip greens: highway to health
Turnip greens, from a nutritional point of view, have very few rivals. They are a treasure trove of vitamins, especially A, B2 and C, and minerals, like iron, calcium and phosphorus. They are packed with proteins and low-cal (only 22 per 100g). They’re also great for pregnant women, as they contain folic acid, and to prevent cancer, since, just like broccoli, they are rich of sulforaphane, a chemical compound that performs a powerful antitumoral action, which adds to the bactericidal one.
100g of turnip greens contains 32 kcal / 134 kj
100g of product contain:
Dietary fiber 2.2mg
Vitamin A 5 µg
Vitamin C 86mg