Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Black Turnip of France

Photo by Sebastien Prunet
The Black Turnip of Pardailhan (Navets de Pardailhan)  Not to be confused with black radishes.The Pardailhan Black Turnip is a variety called Caluire Long Black, named for its region of origin to the north of Pardailhan. Unlike the normal round shape associated with turnips, this one is long and pointy with black skin,   The black turnip is an ancient variety grown almost exclusively in this region of France for centuries. It is said to have been served at the King's table in Versailles.  After WWII, there was a decline in local agriculture and the cultivation of the variety became scarce to almost non existant. About ten years ago, a handful of producers created the association Lou Nap dal Pardailha to save the Caluire Long Black and bring it back to its former glory.   Free from manipulation from breeders, it is considered a virtual wild form of turnip. Thanks to my friend Gerard in Brittany and Seb, I have seed for it this year. Woot!! I have heard different accounts of the taste. Seb says it is sweeter than the normal turnip but he raved about it. It's been said to taste a little like Hazelnut or Chestnut depending on your palette. I've read that it is starchier than our common varieties.  It must be sliced lengthwise to cook. Although I will be growing it this season, unfortunately it will take 2 growing seasons for seed. (Like most turnips). Therefore,  I will plant one patch for eating and one patch for seed. At the end of my growing season I will give a review on the taste. Stay tuned. 
Photo by Sebastien Prunet

3 comments:

Mark Tutt said...

I love seeing these kinds of crops brought back and spread around. I'll be waiting for the seed crop!

Matron said...

Really fascinating! I love to see older or unusual varieties. I look forward to your results.

Vic said...

So how were they? I got some seeds for next year...