Unearthing the Delight of Gilfeather Turnip Recipes

The Gilfeather turnip, an heirloom vegetable with a storied history, holds a special place in the hearts of many culinary enthusiasts. Its unique flavor and versatility make it a standout ingredient in various dishes. In this article, we will embark on a flavorful journey through the world of Gilfeather turnip recipes, uncovering the richness and charm of this humble root vegetable.

Exploring the Gilfeather Turnip

A Unique Vermont Heritage

The Gilfeather turnip, also known as the “Gilfeather Rutabaga,” boasts a distinctive heritage deeply rooted in the state of Vermont, USA. Named after its creator, John Gilfeather, this turnip variety was cultivated over a century ago in the town of Wardsboro, Vermont. It is celebrated not only for its culinary value but also for its intriguing backstory.

Appearance and Flavor

The Gilfeather turnip is instantly recognizable by its large, round shape and creamy-white skin. What truly sets it apart, however, is its sweet, mild flavor, which differentiates it from traditional turnips and rutabagas, which tend to have a more peppery or bitter taste.

Cooking with Gilfeather Turnips

Classic Mashed Gilfeather Turnips

One of the simplest yet most beloved ways to enjoy Gilfeather turnips is by preparing mashed turnips. Here’s how you can create this classic dish:


  • 4 medium-sized Gilfeather turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the cubed turnips in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are tender, which usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drain the cooked turnips and return them to the pot.
  3. Mash the turnips with a potato masher or use a hand mixer for a smoother consistency.
  4. Add the butter and continue mashing until the butter is fully incorporated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, and enjoy the creamy goodness of mashed Gilfeather turnips.

Roasted Gilfeather Turnip Fries

For a delightful twist on traditional fries, consider making roasted Gilfeather turnip fries. They’re a healthier alternative that’s equally satisfying.


  • 2 large Gilfeather turnips, peeled and cut into fry-like strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss the turnip strips with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until they are evenly coated.
  3. Spread the turnip strips in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy, flipping them halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Serve your roasted Gilfeather turnip fries as a delightful side dish or snack.

Gilfeather Turnip and Apple Soup

Warm and comforting, this soup combines the sweetness of Gilfeather turnips with the tartness of apples for a delightful flavor profile.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium Gilfeather turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Fresh chives or parsley for garnish


  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes translucent.
  2. Add the diced Gilfeather turnips and apples to the pot and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the turnips and apples are tender.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Alternatively, you can transfer the mixture to a blender in batches, being cautious when blending hot liquids.
  5. Return the soup to the pot and add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, stir in the heavy cream for a creamier texture.
  6. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes to heat through.
  7. Ladle the Gilfeather turnip and apple soup into bowls and garnish with fresh chives or parsley.

Gilfeather Turnip and Potato Gratin

This gratin is a perfect side dish for special occasions, combining the earthy flavor of potatoes with the sweet undertones of Gilfeather turnips.


  • 2 large Gilfeather turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme leaves for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the thinly sliced Gilfeather turnips and potatoes.
  3. In a separate saucepan, heat the heavy cream and minced garlic over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove it from the heat.
  4. Layer half of the sliced turnips and potatoes in a greased baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half of the grated Gruyère cheese.
  5. Repeat the layering process with the remaining turnips, potatoes, salt, pepper, and cheese.
  6. Pour the heated cream and garlic mixture evenly over the layers.
  7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the potatoes and turnips are tender.
  8. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  9. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves before serving.

Conclusion: A Taste of Vermont’s Culinary Heritage

Gilfeather turnip recipes offer a glimpse into the culinary heritage of Vermont and beyond. Whether you’re savoring the simplicity of mashed turnips, the crispiness of roasted turnip fries, the warmth of turnip and apple soup, or the indulgence of turnip and potato gratin, you’re experiencing the delightful versatility of this heirloom vegetable. So, head to your local market, grab some Gilfeather turnips, and embark on a gastronomic adventure that celebrates tradition, flavor, and creativity.

For more ideas, recipes, and cooking tips and tricks, please visit us at Gardenias Restaurant.

FAQs about Gilfeather Turnip Recipes

What’s the best way to store Gilfeather turnips?

Gilfeather turnips can be stored in a cool, dark place for several weeks. It’s essential to remove their tops (greens) before storage to prevent moisture loss from the roots. You can also refrigerate them in a plastic bag to maintain freshness for an extended period.

Can I substitute Gilfeather turnips in traditional turnip recipes?

Absolutely! Gilfeather turnips can be used as a delightful substitute in any recipe that calls for turnips. Their sweeter flavor may add a unique twist to your favorite turnip dishes.

Where can I find Gilfeather turnips?

While Gilfeather turnips have strong roots in Vermont, they are becoming more widely available in farmers’ markets and specialty stores, especially in the New England region. Check with your local farmers’ market or grocer to see if they carry this unique heirloom vegetable.

Can I use Gilfeather turnips in salads?

Yes, you can use Gilfeather turnips in salads. Their sweet, mild flavor pairs well with other fresh vegetables and greens. Consider adding thinly sliced or grated Gilfeather turnips to your favorite salad for a delightful crunch and flavor boost.

Are Gilfeather turnips nutritionally similar to regular turnips?

Gilfeather turnips are relatively similar to traditional turnips in terms of nutrition. They are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients. However, their sweeter taste may make them more appealing to those who find regular turnips too peppery or bitter.