botanical name: Brassica rapa rapa
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Origins and history
The turnip is cultivated since the dawn of human civilization, but unlike other vegetables, its origins are very uncertain. Most scholars, however, believes that the variety, in its original form, it has appeared for the first time in Northern Europe, and then spread to the rest of Europe, Asia and even in America. Much appreciated by the ancient Romans, to the point that, as narrated by Pliny, it was the third most widely cultivated food after the vine and wheat, this root was very present on the tables of the poorest.
To see it instead on the tables of the wealthy people, we must wait for the fifteenth century, when as a result of the many rumors that they wanted with aphrodisiac powers, it appeared on the tables of the wealthy. Then man has created several varieties, selecting and crossing various turnip types, especially to make more gentle the flavor, so that today it's almost impossible to say exactly how many types of rape exist, given their spread and grown in numerous races worldwide.
Nutritional properties and benefits
Until recently, the turnips have solved the nutritional problems of the poor and, although now they are no longer used as a time, they're still the most appreciated vegetables by Latin people. Besides being highly nutritious, turnip includes many properties and nutritional characteristics: being rich in vitamins and minerals, for example, is very useful to fight fatigue and prevent fatigue.
It's also excellent to combat cystitis, kidney stones, constipation, bronchitis, colds cough and sore throat, because of the diuretic, anti-inflammatory and cleansing that are contained in its root, as well as sulfur substances that are found there in large quantities and contribute liquifying broncali secretions and facilitate their elimination.
Please note: due to the presence of these substances containing sulfur, this vegetable is not recommended for people who have thyroid problems, since it may jeopardize the proper functioning of thyroid hormones). For its purifying action it can be used to combat acne and eczema, and it's also an excellent anti-tumor.
The use of turnip in cooking
Turnip can be eaten raw, baked, grated in salads, or reduced to a puree or seasoned with a little 'butter or extra virgin olive oil. Among the most popular recipes where we can find this vegetable, there is bisna, a native of Friuli polenta and simple to make, but which requires high cooking times.
Less expensive and faster is instead the vegetable broth, which can be used in different ways in cooking, such as to prepare the soups or risotto, or to flavor the meat or vegetables. The broth is made by boiling for 20 minutes in 150 cl of water 2 potatoes, 2 onions, 2 turnips, 2 leeks, 2 carrots, 1 celery and tomatoes 3. Vegetables should first be washed, then peeled and cut into pieces, then you put in the pot and it is added cold water and salt. Once the cooking time has elapsed, you must therefore be withdrawn with a colander and mash to flavor more broth.
Given its close relationship with the popular tradition, it's no wonder that the turnip is the protagonist of many tales and legends. One of the most known and appreciated by the children is the "Story about the Giant Turnip", written by Alexei Tolstoy, who narrates the adventures of a grandfather who, after planting a seed, he found in his yard a giant exemplary and he manages to pick it up. Then he calls the grandmother, who in turn called his nephew, which in turn will call the dog and the cat family, but only when it adds a small mouse, the group manages to pull out of the soil and prepare a vegetable turnip soup.
Even in Brother Grimm's fairy tales, there's a story dedicated to the turnip, where thanks to these vegetables, a poor farmer becomes rich, however, sparking the envy of his brother.
As for the curious, even in this case we find solace in the popular tradition: according to a widespread belief, the turnips had not flavor, then entered into many sayings to indicate stupidity (for example: turnip head).