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Caramelized Turnips And Pears, How Sweet It Is

Take a chance on some turnips! This recipe cuts the slightly bitter taste of the root vegetable with maple syrup and pears.

baby turnips with pears

Photo: Eoban Binder

This dish is garnished with green onions, parsley and an orange slice.

It’s a family affair at my restaurant FARM Bloomington. My mom shows up with truckloads of food from our farm on the Ohio River. A lot of times I see what she brings and I base the weekend specials on those ingredients!

It’s been a bumper year for our harvest. Lots and lots of beautiful veggies — like turnips. Not your favorite? Well, hang tight. These are prepared with sweet maple syrup and crunchy pears to take the edge of the turnips’ slightly bitter flavor.

Baby turnips are wonderful for this preparation — toss them in the pan whole! If you use larger, more mature turnips, be sure to dice them into cubes.

Caramelized Turnips And Pears With Maple Syrup And Spices


  • 3 average-sized turnips, with skins, washed, cut into ½ inch squares
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled cut into ½ inch squares
  • 1/3 cup organic apple cider, or apple juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • dash of Sweet Seasons Spice Blend (or Chinese 5 Spice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, bring the turnips, cider and pears to a boil on a high flame. Turn to low, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes until just tender. Do not overcook.
  2. Remove the lid and add the salt, pepper, syrup and spices. Increase the heat and cook, stirring, until liquid reduces and begins to caramelize. Be careful not to burn.
  3. Add butter and lemon juice and remove from heat. Stir to coat.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning.

This recipe uses the Sweet Seasons Spice Blend.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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