Turnips Key facts Smaller varieties of turnip are grown for culinary use, while the larger ones are cultivated to feed livestock. In some parts of the Middle East, turnips are pickled and baby turnips can be eaten raw. In Iran, turnips are used to reduce fever.

Season: Baby turnips are best in June and July; winter turnips, all year.

In early June, I love seeing the first young bunches of carrots, and the same goes for turnips – so pretty, about the size of golf balls, with deep-purple tinges to their creamy-white flesh and topped with frilly leaves. In winter, they're less tender and can be steamed and mashed to a purée with an equal amount of steamed potatoes, with the addition of a little cream and butter. I love them sliced wafer-thin in Cornish pasties and roasted as a vegetable.

To prepare turnips: use a potato peeler to peel it in precisely the same way as a potato, but slicing off the root end first with a knife. Then just cut the turnip into suitably sized chunks or slices.

To cook baby turnips: dice 1 lb (450 g) of peeled turnips into ¾ inch (2 cm) cubes. Steam them for 3 minutes, sprinkled with a little salt, then sauté in melted butter , tossing them around for about 10 minutes, until tender. This quantity of turnips will serve 4 people.

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