Turnips are a root vegetable commonly associated with potatoes or beets, but their closest relatives are radishes and arugula, which are also members of the mustard family. Turnips are available all year long, but are at their best in fall and spring, when they are small and sweet. Larger turnips have a stronger flavor and are great for mashing and or adding to soups and stews.
Like most root vegetables, turnips are a great storage vegetable to use when you want to keep eating locally throughout the winter. Look for brightly colored turnips with creamy looking bulbs and a violet-hued ring around the tops. Baby turnips may not have developed their violet tops and may look like somewhat large white spring radishes. In fall and spring, look for turnips with their greens attached to be sure they were freshly harvested. In winter, turnips will come from storage and their leaves will have been removed.