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Turnips as a Thanksgiving Side Dish

Turnips as a Thanksgiving Side Dish

Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Here is a Thanksgiving Day side dish with an interesting history. Most believe turnips have their roots in northeastern Europe or Asia. Before potatoes could be had in abundant outside of South America, the poor in Europe regularly ate turnips. However elites primarily used turnips to feed their livestock during the winter months. One of the earliest sources we have on turnips in the United states is dated 1796 in which a William Cobbett is described as assisting in harvesting some Russian turnips from a garden at No. 43 Beekman street, in New York, lives a gentleman who assisted in pulling the Russian turnips from said field in 1796. Had Mr. Cobbett been the first to introduce this fine vegetable into America, he deserved, as Mr. Windham said on another occasion, ' at No. 43 Beekman street, in New City. Apparently merchants sold them at places like the city’s old Fly Market. The poor found that turnip leaves (greens) and the turnip itself served as an excellent inexpensive source of nutrition during the winter months. Turnips are low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron and Manganese. I highly recommend them as a side dish this Thanksgiving.

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