What is a Hakurei Turnip?
Hakurei turnips are fantastic little gems. If you are thinking that a turnip is a turnip is a turnip, stop there. These are nothing like regular turnips.
These are sweet and versatile.
I encourage you to buy a small bunch and give them a try. Once you do, you may become disappointed when you see them come and go so quickly at the markets.
What are Hakurei Turnips?
Hakurei turnips are part of the brassica family. They are a Japanese turnip and are often referred to as salad turnips.
One of the biggest difference that these turnips offer is the fact that they do not even need to be cooked. Raw is just fine.
Their leaves are also edible and the leaf stems are not woody or tough like some other edible leaves.
When cooking, these little guys can be boiled, braised, sauteed, roasted, grilled. Pretty much any way you can think to add heat. Cook until they are fork tender and be sure not to over cook or they will just become mushy and strong tasting.
Store hakurei turnips in the fridge:
- Separate the greens from the turnips and store separately. When removing the greens, leave a little bit on the turnip (about 1/4 inch). Wash the greens very well and store in a plastic bag or airtight container with a piece of paper towel to help control the humidity.
- There is no need to wash the turnips or remove the small root before storing. Just brush off any dirt and inspect for insects. Place in a plastic bag or air tight container.
- Although fresh always tastes better, both raw greens and turnips can be frozen. Separate the greens from the turnips and blanch both separately. Greens need 30 seconds, and turnips need 2 minutes. Be sure that all the turnips are cut into about the same size for even blanching.
- When freezing, lay them out on a cookie sheet in one layer and place it in the freezer for a few hours. Then transfer into airtight container or freezer-safe bag. This will prevent them from clumping together. Don’t forget to label with the name and date.
To prepare hakurei turnips:
- If not already done, remove the greens and trim off small root.
- Wash the greens very well and scrub the turnips under cold water.
- There is no need to peel the turnips.
- If cooking the turnips, try to make them about the same size by cutting larger ones.
Uses For Hakurei Turnips
These turnips are incredibly versatile:
- Slice thinly or grate and add them raw to salads, stir-fries, rice, quinoa, etc
- Add to soups, stew, or sauces
- Cook until fork tender and then add the greens in the last minute or so of cooking to wilt the greens
- Cut up into french fries and fry or bake
When cooking, hakurei turnips can be quite bland. This is great because they will compliment the flavours you want to add.