The turnip, a healthy delicacy.
‘Grelos’ are turnip shoots or tops and a staple food in Galician cuisine. A delicacy when they are tender, these leaves should be harvested just before flowering, when they present a smooth, shiny and spotless appearance. In Galicia, this activity is called 'grelar' and the best times to do it are in winter and early spring; although thanks to greenhouse techniques they can be found throughout the year.
The origin of this plant is not very clear. Some place it in Asia, others in Europe, but the truth is that in Spain they were only consumed and cultivated for many years in Galicia.
What I have discovered is that turnip greens can help prevent cancer. In the study Compuestos bioactivos y producción de grelos y nabizas: variación fenotípica y ambiental the biologist Marta Fernandez compares ‘grelos’ with broccoli, a plant with anti-cancer properties supported by several Anglo-Saxon investigations.
Besides these properties, what no one can deny the turnip shoot is its strong flavour and its importance in Galician cuisine. Some of the most typical dishes are pork with turnip tops, in which these leaves are cooked along with the front leg of the pig and red chorizo, cream of turnip greens, or the tops scrambled or in an omelette with prawns. Some simply prefer them cooked, as a garnish, and others have dared to challenge their bitter taste by candying them.
If you are lucky enough to go on holiday to Galicia, go the most traditional tavern you see, tell the barman that you want pork with turnip tops and get ready to enjoy a taste that is also good for your health.
On the social media
Did you like it?
Thanks for voting!