[Photograph: Ellen Silverman

Pickles are usually the easiest thing to put up, and the vinegar-ed recipes in Southern Living's Little Jars, Big Flavors, fall in line. Most of the pickles are simple, familiar choices like dills, bread and butters, and pickled green beans. This pickled turnip with shiso, however, stood out from the rest. Shiso is not ordinarily seen in American pickle recipes, especially from the dill- and mustard-focused South. Still, the lemony leaf makes plenty of sense in these Japanese-esque white wedges.

Why I picked this recipe: I was intrigued by the use of shiso in these stark white pickles.

What worked: The shiso provided a fragrant grassy-lemon note to the brine that evoked Japanese flavors without going Asian-fusion.

What didn't: I thought the final pickles were a bit soft. I might try tossing the turnips with salt to release some of their liquid and firm up before pickling next time.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find hakurei turnips, you can use slender slices of the purple-topped variety. Or you can try using radishes in their place.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Little Jars, Big Flavors to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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