The first time I saw a hakurei turnip, I thought I was looking at some new-to-me strain of albino radish. It was at a farmers' market, back in my very early days as a local eater and pickler when so much was still unknown. I asked the farmer and he explained that they're a Japanese strain of turnips that get planted in early spring and are ready to harvest within just a month of planting.
Thus began my love affair with these young, creamy-fleshed turnips. Each spring, I look forward to their arrival at the market. They have a similar texture to radishes, but without a radish's signature pepperiness. Most often, I just slice them thinly and add them to salads or use them as a vehicle for hummus.
Another very nice thing about hakurei turnips is that their greens are just as tasty as the root. You can eat them raw, wilt them into a larger dish or puree them with a bit of green garlic, toasted nuts and olive oil into a terrifically green pesto. I do love a vegetable that you can eat from root to leaf.
Before You Get Started
This pickle includes a salting step before you add the vinegar to the vegetable. The salt draws out some of the liquid in the turnip, which in turn makes for a crisper pickle.
Unlike most pickles, which benefit from extended stays in vinegar, I find that I prefer this pickle when it's been freshly made. However, everyone's palate is different, so taste it an hour after you add vinegar and the next day as well, to determine how you like it best.
If you find that the hakurei turnip doesn't float your boat, try this same technique with daikon radish or even large carrots.
About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, also called Food in Jars, was published by Running Press in May 2012.