Mill City Cooks

Pickled Japanese Turnips

By Nick Schneider

These tender, sweet, white roots are only available when the farmers around here grown them. They behave more like a radish in a horticulture sense, but are milder, juicier and just as crunchy. They can be eaten raw, lightly steamed or pickled. This is not a traditional Japanese pickling method here but an adaptation for canning. Look for roots that are small, two inches in diameter or less.

  • 2 lb. Hakurei Turnips – cleaned and greens trimmed
  • 3 C. Water
  • 3 C. Rice Vinegar
  • 1 ½ T pickling salt
  • 6 T sugar or ¾ C mirin – sweet rice wine
  • 3 inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced thin

Heat a pot of boiling water enough to blanch the turnips.

Combine the water, sugar or mirin, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.

Blanch the turnips for 30 seconds in the boiling water and remove.

Have the hot sterilized jars ready. Add a few slices of ginger to them.

Pack with the turnips just out of the boiling water. Pour over the pickling solution. Follow the canning directions below.

The turnips should have a little crunch left in them after they are opened.

For the canning process:

Have a large heavy bottom pot or a canner full of water heating to a boil. Make sure to leave room for the jars that will enter later.

Sterilize canning jars for 10 minutes in boiling water. Remove with long tongs.

Pour in hot vinegar solution into packed jars; fill to a ¼ inch from top.

With a sterilized rubber spatula, let out air bubbles that may be stuck under the turnips.

Top with cap that has been sitting in 180 F water on the side. Screw on lid just until a little tight – not overly.

Lower jars into boiling water bath. If you have a removable heavy wire rack that holds the jars use that.

Boil jars under 1 inch of water for 10 minutes.

Remove and spread out slightly. Allow jars to cool out of any draft, which may cause the jars to crack.

Over the next 10-15 minutes jars will form a vacuum as indicated by a “clicking” sound. The lids will have popped downward, concave style.

Safe Canning Tips:

A thin-bottomed pot may crack the jars from intensity of heat whereas a quality heavy pot will diffuse the heat evenly.

Use only new lids with a plastic coating. They are sold separately from jars and rings. Unsealed lids will corrode from the acid otherwise.

High acid pickles generally need a several week period in storage before opening so the pH can equilibrate.

Make sure to label and date the jars!