Wednesday, September 01, 2021

History of turnip

Brassica is the Latin word for cabbage, rapa means turnip, and campestris refers to “of fields” in Latin.

The turnip was first developed by prehistoric man around two thousand years ago for its enlarged root. It is difficult to trace its origins to an exact location, but it is believed to have first been cultivated in Northeastern Europe or Western Siberia. By 300 B.C., turnips were domesticated and grown in Greek civilizations.

The word laptu in ancient Assyrian dates back to 1800 B.C. The turnip is a very well-known vegetable in the entire Middle East. In Ancient Greece and Rome, the turnip was an important domesticated crop plant and they thought highly of the turnip and developed several new varieties.

The Greek Theophrast (371 - 285 B.C.) called it gongylis and the Roman Columella (35 - 65 A.D.) distinguished between the cultivation and conservation by lactic acid fermentation of napus and rapa, saying that napus only forms a tender root, whereas rapa has a thick stomach.

Pliny (23 - 79 A.D.), an ancient Roman author, used the names rapa and napus to describe turnips that were long, flat, or round. He described the varieties in ancient Rome, showing that the turnip was a favorite crop in mountainous regions of the Apennine and the Northern parts of Italy.

In addition to being appreciated for their food value, they have been used as a wrinkle remover by the Romans, and as a treatment for frostbite, gout, measles, and arthritis.

English of the Middle Ages turned napus into naep in Anglo-Saxon. In the Middle Ages the turnip was a staple food plant. In the Capitulare de Villis, Charlemagne (around 800 A.D.) gives instructions on which crops had to be planted and had to be given to his court; among those listed is napi. Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179 A.D.) uses the term ruba and Albertus Magnus (1193 - 1280 A.D.) distinguishes napo and rapa.

Turnips were introduced into North America by early European settlers and colonists. They grew well in the South and became a popular food of this region. Turnip greens, which became an integral part of Southern African-American cuisine, are thought to have been adopted into this food culture because of the role they played during the days of slavery.
History of turnip

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