Pickled Japanese Turnips with Shiso from 'Little Jars, Big Flavors'

Pickled Japanese Turnips with Shiso from 'Little Jars, Big Flavors'

[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.

For a primer on boiling-water canning, click here.

Reprinted with permission from Little Jars, Big Flavors: Small-batch jams, jellies, pickles, and preserves from the South's most trusted kitchen by the Editors of Southern Living Magazine and Virginia Willis. Copyright 2013. Published by Oxmoor House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Yield:makes 3 (1-pint) jars
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes, plus up to 3 weeks standing time


  • 2 1/2 pounds hakurei turnips
  • 4 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/4 cup canning-and-pickling salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 fresh red or green shiso leaves
  • 3 serrano peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves


  1. 1.

    Sterilize jars, and prepare lids.

  2. 2.

    While jars are boiling, scrub turnips thoroughly, and remove any blemishes; trim off green tops. Cut turnips into 1-inch wedges. Bring vinegar, salt, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.

  3. 3.

    Place 2 shiso leaves, 1 serrano pepper, and 1 garlic clove in each hot jar. Pack turnips tightly in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cover turnips with hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

  4. 4.

    Seal and process jars for 15 minutes.

  5. 5.

    Remove jars from water, and let stand, undisturbed, at room temperature 24 hours. To check seals, remove the bands, and press down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn’t move, the jar is sealed. If the lid depresses and pops up again, the jar is not sealed. Store properly sealed jars in a cool, dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.