Seasonal Confusion: Winter Vegetables Now!

Better Living Through Local Foods
By: Katherine Rossmoore

I don’t like to rain on everyone’s spring parade (or in our case, snow on it!) but just because all the glossy magazines and blogs are declaring it springtime, and in fact the spring equinox has occurred, the seasonal vegetables around here are still rather wintery: beets, celeriac, and of course many of our farmers have lovely greens grown in their green houses. Just because it is spring, and you can get asparagus from Mexico (which I have, and it’s wonderful) doesn’t mean  it’s “in season” here in New England. Even though everyone is in the mood for spring, and we celebrate with Passover and Easter, I am reminded of the saying “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” because here in New England, we don’t have baby artichokes and peas and asparagus – yet. I am differentiating between seasonal somewhere, but not here, and actual local and seasonal for us. So, we’re still into root vegetables, let’s savor the last chance to use them now before there are so many more colorful and lively green edibles sprouting out of the earth!

Gill feather turnips

Marta McFarland at Rise and Shine Farm in Marshfield is growing an heirloom variety of turnip, the gill feather turnip, sold last week at the Marshfield Winter market. She tells me this variety was re-established by a farmer in Vermont who was so protective of wanting to keep this variety under his own control that he cut off the roots and green before selling them. Well, that’s how mine came as well, dear Marta! (But I know the green stems are long past.)

I have to confess that I copied the recipe for gingered turnips from a Boston Globe article on parsnips, hoping they would be more or less interchangeable. I didn’t pay close attention to the recipe, since I added the grated ginger before roasting and then noticed I was supposed to add it, with the butter, after! (I also felt that the butter was unnecessary) but I ended up adding more ginger after the roasting with the butter. The dish came out so good that it was gone when I got home! Good thing I got to taste it before my husband got to it.

Gingered Gillfeather Turnips
(adapted from Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen)


  • 2 large turnips, peeled and chopped into one inch dice
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 T safflower oil
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated (more or less, to taste)

Ready to cook


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the turnips with maple syrup, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the top third of the oven for 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender.
  4. Taste the turnips for seasoning and then add more ginger (if you like) and butter!

Gingered turnips

Serves 4 as a side dish. Maybe. If your partner doesn’t come home first and scarf it all down.

Katherine Rossmoore is an integrative health and wellness guide, using her love of clean whole foods and cooking to help people demystify the healthy kitchen. She is also a writer, mother and certified yoga teacher.
Find her at


About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
This entry was posted in BETTER LIVING THRU LOCAL FOODS, General Interest, recipe, Spring. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seasonal Confusion: Winter Vegetables Now!

  1. Pingback: Asparagus Tart with Paleo-Style Crust | edible South Shore Blog

  2. Martha M. Stone says:

    beautiful, thank you.

  3. eSS says:

    I don’t know how may times I’ve misread a recipe and added ingredients too early or out of order; glad I’m not the only one that does this.
    This recipe sounds so easy, thanks for sharing!

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