While looking for vegetables to plant in your garden or going through the produce aisle of your local grocery store, you may come across some similar looking vegetables; turnips and radishes. While passing by these two vegetables, they may seem pretty similar; and they are. However, upon closer inspection, we can see that there are some key difference that set them apart.
So what’s the difference between turnips and radishes? The main difference between a turnip and a radish is that turnips belong to the Brassica Genus while radishes belong to the Raphanus Genus. When it comes to physical differences, radishes are smaller than turnips and typically have a darker, crimson skin color.
Overall, that may not seem like much of a difference. However, turnips and radishes are also different in many ways beyond physical appearance. Such differences include taste, growing habits and more.
While turnips and radishes are known to be quite similar in appearance and even texture as well, both root vegetables have somewhat of a contrast when it comes to their taste and overall flavor.
Biting into a raw radish, your taste buds will be greeted by a crisp, zesty flavor with a hint of sweetness. In some ways, it is like biting into an apple but without the juice and with a bit of spiciness. Keep in mind that the older a radish gets, the spicier it will be.
Though radishes can and do taste great when eaten raw, they act best as an ingredient in a larger dish; much like onions do. This way, the taste and flavor of the radish can be complimented with the other ingredients in a given recipe. A good example of this would be in a salad. Chopped up radishes can add a bit of crunch and zest that compliments well with the fresh, leafy greens of the salad.
Cooking radishes can significantly change up both the taste and texture of radishes. When cooked properly, the spiciness of a radish will become a lot milder and the sweetness will be amplified. In addition, the texture of the radish will become a bit softer.
When consumed raw, turnips are often described as tasting a lot like cabbage but with a hint of spiciness and with a crunchy texture. Much like a radish, they are crisp and crunchy, but the flavor and zest is a lot milder. Younger turnips are known to be more sweet and flavorful while older turnips are slightly bitter and starchy.
When it comes to growing turnips, it is recommended to harvest them before they reach three inches in diameter as to preserve root’s flavor. Turnips become bitter as they age and grow so it is important to harvest the roots while they are still young.
Overall, turnips may come off as tasting less flavorful compared to a radish, but prepared correctly and with the right spices and seasonings, they can act as a great side dish for any meal.
One of the most popular ways of preparing turnips is by roasting them. Roasted turnips are a simple and healthy dish to prepare. It simply involves chopping up your turnips and cooking them with some olive oil over the stove top with the desired seasonings and spices.