By early summer, many may already be familiar with the small, white, bulbous root veggies that have been making the rounds at farmers’ markets in the Pacific Northwest. These taproots are Japanese wax turnips, but don’t let the name “turnip” scare you off…these guys are awesome.
Japanese wax turnips are sweet and spicy, crisp and juicy. In so many words, delicious! They’re far less woody than standard turnips and rutabagas. They hail from Japan (where they’re called Hakurei turnips) and are tender enough to eat raw. Slice them thin, eat them with a salad or on a sandwich, and appreciate their unique flavor—a hint of radish, but sweeter and juicier, softer than a radish without sacrificing the crunch. You can also roast them whole at 450 degrees with olive oil and sea salt.
Turnip greens are good eating, too, so don’t throw them away! They are nice sautéed with other greens, particularly chard. They may be a little bit nibbled on, but don’t worry. Nibbled-on greens are proof that your produce is pesticide-free. While we do wash the produce before packing, we recommend giving your veggies another rinse before you use them.
We hope you enjoy getting to know your Japanese wax turnips. They’re a lesser-known spring veggie but they deserve a place at the table!
Storage: Like all root crops, turnip greens will continue to suck moisture from the roots after they are harvested. Best to separate the two immediately and store them in separate, loose plastic bags in the refrigerator. The greens will keep for 5-7 days, the roots a little bit longer.
Recipes for Japanese wax turnips: