Macomber turnips have the distinction of being one of the only vegetables to have a historic marker dedicated to their story. Find it hard to believe?
Take a stroll along Main Road in Westport, Massachusetts and you will be transported to turnip memory lane. Brothers Adin and Elihu Macomber were fans of the turnip as an inexpensive, hearty, and reliable crop. In their travels, however, the brothers got curious and started to experiment by planting radishes next to rutabagas, another experimental crossbreed of a cabbage and turnip. The result was a turnip with creamy white flesh and an unusual sweetness: the Macomber Turnip. Massachusetts chefs have dedicated the season to this local hero with innovative recipes like Macomber soup with lobster and truffle oil or Macomber Cake. Home cooks, however, take a more direct route, mashing the turnips with carrots or even eating them raw.
Turnips are at their sweetest in spring and fall. Look for young or small specimens for the best flavor and texture. Choose turnips with fresh looking greens that feel firm and smooth. Store turnips in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few days. Wash before eating.