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Sensory quality of turnip greens and turnip tops grown in northwestern Spain - page 3 / 31





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B. rapa vegetable crops from Asian countries as Chinese cabbage, pak Choi or

bock Choi have been extensively studied regarding different attributes (agronomic and

nutritional) because of the importance of these crops in the Asian diet. Nevertheless, in

Europe most research has been focused on different B. oleracea crops as cabbage,

broccoli or cauliflower since these have a great economic importance in this continent

and consequently, studies on nutritional quality of B. rapa types are minor. However,

leafy forms of B. rapa crops are very popular in farming and diet in some European

countries as Portugal [1], Spain [2] or Italy [3] where they are traditionally known as

‘nabiças, or grelos’ and cima di rapa or Italian turnip’, respectively.

In Galicia (northwestern Spain), Brassica crops have been the main source of

vegetables for human consumption and also for winter fresh fodder. According to the

particularities of Galician agriculture (small familiar farms and traditional cultural

practices), farmers obtain their own seeds for sowing. This process has led to a great

number of Brassica landraces adapted to different conditions and to different uses all

along Galician geography. In this region, Brassica rapa var. rapa L. includes turnip

greens and turnip tops as vegetable products for culinary profit as well as turnips for

fodder. Turnip greens are the young leaves, harvested in the vegetative period, wich are

characterized by hairy lower leaves, petiolated with broad lateral lobes, which become

larger at the top. Turnip tops are the fructiferous stems with the flower buds and the

surrounding leaves. Upper flower spike leaves of an oblong spear shape, with two large

rounded auricles, hairless and embracing the stem. The harvest of turnip tops occurs in

late winter when the flower buds are formed, which are consumed before opening and

while still green. Both are boiled and generally consumed as meat companions. They

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