To cook turnips, place trimmed, unpeeled turnips in boiling water, and cook them for approximately 30 minutes. To reduce bitterness, drain and change the water at least once during cooking.
Trim raw turnips, no larger than 3 inches, by cutting the stems to within 1/2 inch of the top and removing the tails. Add a potato to the cooking water, to help reduce bitterness. The potato can be eaten with the cooked turnips. Cover, and simmer until tender.
If the turnips are larger than 3 inches in diameter, cut them in half or quarters, and cook them uncovered to allow gases to escape. To reduce cooking time by 5 or 10 minutes, cube the turnips before cooking them. Pureed, boiled turnips can serve as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
Turnips can also be baked, sauteed or steamed. To bake turnips, wipe off dirt with paper towels, and bake whole at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes. Steam turnips by placing them chopped in a steamer basket over boiling water for 15 to 25 minutes. To saute turnips, place cleaned, sliced turnips in a pan with 1/4 cup broth or a small amount of oil. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, add the sliced turnips and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.