November 2021 Volume 17

Jamaican Turnip vs American Turnip Greens

Michael O. Walters
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In Jamaica we eat turnips.

I know that turnip greens are popular in the southern US states particularly amongst African Americans. On a trip to Alabama, I learnt of a significant difference in how the turnip plant is used. In southern states, the leaf is removed and used as turnip greens. The root is left in the ground and more leaves are produced. When more leaves are grown, they are removed and the cycle of producing more leaves continue.

Turnip greens: Health benefits, uses, and possible risks (

In Jamaica, as soon as the roots are matured, we pull out the whole plant and utilize the root for cooking and discard the greens (or use to feed rabbits or other animals).

Question is; “why do we discard the valuable greens rather than use it as Americans do?

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