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Southern Style Turnip Greens Recipe

Updated on October 23, 2014

Turnips and collard greens have long been a delicious staple of old fashioned southern cooking. Many people may not realize it, but turnip greens are known to have been around as a crop at least since the Roman times. Pliny the Elder, a famous Roman philosopher, wrote that turnips were one of the most important crops of his time.

The turnip root is known to be a great source of Vitamin C, and the green leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium. Research has also shown that the vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids found in turnip greens are beneficial nutrients that act as an excellent, natural anti-inflammatory agent. Without a doubt, turnip greens provide us with great health benefits, but they also taste great – especially when they are prepared with a southern style turnip greens recipe. Here is a mouth-watering, down-home recipe for turnip greens and pigs tails.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 lbs of fresh turnip greens
  • 2-3 lbs. of pigs tails cut into 2" pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 cup of bacon drippings
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Southern Style Turnip Greens
Southern Style Turnip Greens

Preparation and Cooking

Begin by washing the pigs tails under cold, running water and then pat them dry. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the pigs tails and then place the pigs tails in the pot. Bring the water to a boil and add the salt. You'll want to cook the tails for about 35-40 minutes.

While the tails are cooking, begin washing the turnip greens and remove any bad leaves. Smaller turnip green leaves are better because they are not as bitter as larger turnip green leaves. after washing, take the leaves and begin stacking several on top of each other and roll them cigar-style, then cut them into smaller horizontal segments about a 1/4' in length.

Next, you'll want to remove all but one quart of the pigs tail liquid – but don't discard it because you might need more later. Gradually begin stirring in the turnip greens, allowing each batch to wilt before adding another batch, and stir in the celery, bell pepper, sugar, oil and red pepper. Make sure the pigs tails are buried in the turnip greens, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook the turnip greens for another 15-30 minutes.

After the turnip greens have been simmering, go ahead and stir in the bacon drippings, uncover the pot, stir occasionally and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the pigs tails are good and tender. Add additional liquid as necessary to prevent the turnip greens from sticking or being scorched.

Feel free to add any additional seasonings you prefer.As a matter of fact, diced turnip roots are a wonderful and tasty addition to this dish. The ingredients for this recipe will yield about 6 servings.

If you are a beginning cook, or just looking for a quick, simple way to prepare southern style turnip greens, here is an excellent video recipe that you can serve in a flash and still tastes down-home, southern good! Try it at your next family get-together.

Southern Style Turnip Greens For Beginners


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      Lynette 4 years ago

      Love the recipe