This method of drying turnips preserves the light color, flavor, and nutrients of the vegetable. Dried turnips are terrific in soups (including homemade soup stocks) and stews. They also take up very little space and weigh almost nothing, which makes them very easy to store.
Steps to Dehydrate
- First, scrub the turnips clean under running water. Even though you are going to peel the turnips, it is worth washing them first so that your peeler doesn't pick up dirt and spread it on the vegetables.
- Turnip peels have a mildly bitter flavor that is intensified in dried turnips. This is true even of baby turnips that you might not bother to peel if you were using them fresh. You'll get a tastier final product if you peel the turnips before proceeding to the next step.
- Slice off and compost or discard the stem and root ends of the turnips (or save them to add to other soup stock ingredients). Peel the turnips. Slice the peeled turnips crosswise into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- Blanch the turnip slices for 3 minutes. You can do this by dropping them into already boiling water, or by steam blanching them. To steam blanch, put about an inch of water into the bottom of a pot with a steamer basket on top. Put the turnip slices into the steamer basket, cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Start timing the 3 minutes only once the water is boiling vigorously and producing a full blast of steam.
- When the 3 minutes is up, immediately drain the turnip slices in a colander, or remove the steamer basket full of turnips from the pot. Run cool water over the turnips, or drop them into a bowl of ice water. This stops residual heat from the blanching from continuing to cook the turnips. Once the turnips are cool, drain them in a colander for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Arrange the blanched turnip slices on the trays of your dehydrator, taking care to leave 1/2 inch of space on all sides between slices.
- Put the turnip-loaded trays into the dehydrator. Dry for one hour at 150 F/65 C. Reduce the heat to 135 F/57 C. The turnips will be crispy dry when they are done. They take about 4 hours to reach that stage (including the first hour at the higher temperature).
- Turn off the dehydrator and take out the trays. Let the dried turnips cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. They will crisp up even further during this cooldown that is known as "conditioning." Do you know how cookies that just came out of the oven get crunchier after they've cooled off? Same concept.
- Transfer the dried turnip slices to clean, dry containers and cover tightly. They will keep indefinitely, but the quality is best if they are used within one year.