Southern Turnip Greens

Southern Turnip Greens is a dish that I love to serve. Fresh turnip greens cooked with turnip roots is a delicious addition to any meal. Southern turnip greens and roots tastes fresh with a unique flavor that lightly touches the sweet, savory and bitter on your palate. My love for them has evolved over time.

Soul Food and Southern Turnip Greens

Southern turnip greens have always been on the dinner table throughout my life.  I don’t recall the first time that I ate greens. I do recall the first time that I had greens that tasted of magic. My Dad invited an elderly friend, Sister Miles to our house to cook her special greens.  He really wanted the recipe. Sister Miles really wanted to keep it.

Bunches Fresh Turnip Greens
Bunches Fresh Turnip Greens

Our family devoured the pot of turnip greens. I wish I had been smart enough to stand in the kitchen and watch her create the mouth-watering greens loaded with spices and some type of pork fat. Memories of those greens left an impression on my young mind.

Randomly Dad would drive Sister Miles to the market and we would wait for the magic in our kitchen. Dad would harass her for the recipe and she always would politely reply “No baby, just come pick me up and I will cook the greens”. I enjoyed her in our kitchen with her easy laugh and I loved her greens. Secretly, I was in awe of someone telling my Dad, “No”.

Fast and Easy Southern Turnip Greens

Home cooks and chefs look for ways to adapt recipes to their kitchen, life style, time restraints, budgets,customers,  health and flavor palate. My Granny Theda Faye introduced me to my next type of Greens. Granny’s focus was saving time and money. After my divorce Granny would come and visit with us. As a single Mom, saving time and money is important always.

Grandmother Theda Fay
Grandmother Theda Fay

On one of her visits I returned from work to find Granny in the kitchen with a great home cooked meal. One of the items served was southern turnip roots in greens. Of course, they were delicious. I asked Granny for the recipe. She giggled as she proudly went to my trash can and pulled out a large can of “Gloria’s turnip greens”.

I was in denial. The greens tasted fresh and delicious. The shortcut was using canned greens but only this brand. If you have ever cleaned fresh greens you realize the time savings. Undoubtedly, she had tried several and found them lacking in taste. Granny’s secret was to buy lots of fresh turnip roots and add them to the pot of canned greens. The fresh brought new life to the canned greens along with garlic. Nice trick Granny.

“Jes Greens” or Southern Turnip Greens

My turnip greens have evolved over the years adding in different spices, jalapeño peppers  or proteins. When I married Grill Man he raved about his Momma’s greens. I thought that I cooked good greens until I had her flavor combination. The first time that I had Wathon’s turnip greens, I was amazed that they did not have anything added other than salt and pepper. No jalapeño peppers or meat added or needed. It was “Jes greens”.

Fresh Turnip Greens in sink www.diningwithmimi.com
Fresh Turnip Greens in sink

Turnip greens pulled fresh from the earth, cleaned thoroughly and properly prepared are a special offering. Under Wathon’s instructions, I have learned to cook greens so that it is all about the fresh sweet, savory and bitter combination that the greens and turnip roots offer. Enjoy the flavor of Southern turnips greens, they need very little else. Thanks, Mom.

Wathon
A young beauty

I have enjoyed the offerings from many talented cooks that whip up a simple vegetable from the garden into a mouth-watering dish. Farm to table is hard combination to beat. Add a slice of cornbread or skillet bread to my plate and I am happy. It is possible that turnip roots in greens is an acquired taste. I love them.

Turnip greens are an healthy addition to any diet. Food should give us nutrition in addition to enjoyment and fuel for our bodies. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan and low in calories. Buy a bunch and serve a dish that says “I must love you!” It is so worth the extra work!

Alexa Shout Out to the band from Denmark,  Turnip Greens for Creole Man.

 

outhern Turnip Roots in Greens
Southern Turnip Greens
Print Recipe
Fresh Turnip Greens and roots, cooked to celebrate their full flavor of sweet, savory and bitter. I learned this technique for cooking greens from Wathon Woodham. I adapted this recipe based on her instructions.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 60 Minutes
Cook Time
30-45 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 60 Minutes
Cook Time
30-45 Minutes
outhern Turnip Roots in Greens
Southern Turnip Greens
Print Recipe
Fresh Turnip Greens and roots, cooked to celebrate their full flavor of sweet, savory and bitter. I learned this technique for cooking greens from Wathon Woodham. I adapted this recipe based on her instructions.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 60 Minutes
Cook Time
30-45 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 people 60 Minutes
Cook Time
30-45 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Wash kitchen sink and rinse well. Add in large bundle of turnip greens. Before you untie the greens using the water sprayer, wash off the root end of the greens for a few minutes. With a large knife while greens are in sink, trim off the root ends, Cut off stalk ends and toss. Rinse the dirt out of the sink.
    Bunches Fresh Turnip Greens
  2. Place drain cover in sink and start filling up with water. Untie greens and swish back and forth to wash well. As water is filling up, start removing the stalks. Tear off the greens and leave in the sink. The stalks may be tossed, throw in compost or fed to chickens.
  3. Once all the stalks have been removed, move the greens thorough the water back and forth. Drain water out. Pull greens to one side and using sprayer rinse any sand or dirt out of sink. Place drain cover in sink and fill up with water. Move the greens thorough the water back and forth until all the dirt has been removed. I typically do this process at least three times. This will depend on how dirty the greens are when you receive from farm or market. Repeat as needed then drain.
    Fresh Turnip Greens in sink www.diningwithmimi.com
  4. Grab a large pot to cook greens, place near sink and cutting board. Start layering leaves into a pile. Then roll leaves into a tube as shown. With a sharp knife cut greens and toss into pot. Repeat until all leaves are in pot.
    Leaves Rolled then cut
  5. Add in water, olive oil , salt and pepper. Stir well. Turn on medium low and cover with lid. Stir occasionally. Cook until tender for about 30-45 minutes.
  6. In a smaller pot, add chopped turnip roots. Add water until barely covered. Cover with lid. Cook until tender about 20 minutes.
    Turnip Roots www.diningwithmimi.com
  7. Greens will reduce down in size considerably. Taste to check tenderness. Once greens are tender, add in turnip roots and liquid to turnip greens. Stir and add additional salt or pepper as needed.
    Southern Turnip Greens www.diningwithmimi.com
  8. Lagniappe: I love the clean taste of these greens. If you want more punch, add cayenne or sliced jalapenos to pot while cooking. Serve with a slice of cornbread and sliced onion.
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Author: Mimi

I have a love affair with food, entertaining, travel and music. This site is a vehicle for me to share my journey of food. Traveling allows exposure to all types of cooking. I have learned to cook by being hungry, curious and willing to fail. Food is another form of art and creative expression.
Copyright 2016 by Mimi

4 thoughts on “Southern Turnip Greens”

  1. Loved this posting. Beautiful Wathan. Simple is better. Some have so much meat you can’t find the good, healthy greens! Thank you Mimi.

    1. Thank you! The simple recipe with the greens and turnip roots adds a pow of flavor in the sweet, bitter and savory combination. Although, I am a fan of proteins and sauces, the greens call for fresh and clean. Thank you for your support.

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