Patsy’s giant specimen is a real turnip for the (cooking) books

Is there a bigger turnip anywhere in Ireland today?

That’s what farmer-cum-shopkeeper Patsy Herlihy, from the Cork/Kerry border area, would like to know.

He pulled this specimen — bigger than a football and weighing just over 7kg, or 15.5lb — from his garden at Gullane, Gneeveguilla.

Patsy believes good growing conditions, lasting well into the autumn, have resulted in a bumper crop of his purple-top turnips.

“Normally, growth slows down in August and September but we’ve growth into October this year. If I hadn’t pulled this turnip, it might have got a lot bigger.’’

Patsy and his wife, Betty, believe turnips are better after being in frosty ground, and that they should not be washed until just before cooking.

“When turnips and potatoes are washed for too long, they dry out and a lot of good goes out of them,’’ said Betty. “The old people never washed them until they were ready to put them into the pot.’’

Patsy, meanwhile, is on the lookout for more big turnips in his garden, but it will be hard to find a giant fit for the Guinness Book of Records, where the biggest turnip is credited to Scott and Mardie Robb, of Palmer, US, which tipped the scales at 17.7kg, or just over 39lb.

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