The picture below is of an enormous purple turnip at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a fabulous botanic garden with an extensive fall vegetable section. This turnip is pure white on the inside (I assume - I didn't cut it open), and it should also be white below the soil. Sunlight causes the root epidermal cells to become pigmented in this variety of turnip. The pigment seen here is an anthocyanin, but some turnips have a green suntan from chlorophyll production.
|A gigantic turnip!|
My favorite turnips are Hakurei turnips, which are pure white regardless of sun exposure, smaller, and not hot. They are sweet and fruity and even the greens can be eaten raw. You can find them at farmers' markets in the fall and spring. Their texture is divine when cooked - smooth and silky, and I like them sauteed or cooked into soups. It's absurd to think of eating turnips without the greens in my book, so I always get the roots cooking while I prep the greens. Then I cook the greens with the roots for the last few minutes for a great combination of flavors and textures. YUM.
|Turnip and greens, Brassica rapa.|
|Turnips and butterhead lettuce.|
|Brussels sprouts, Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera.|
|Bok choi, Brassica chinensis.|