Sunday, July 15, 2007

Turnips: not just starvation food anymore!

You may or may not know that Dan and I are splitting a CSA (community supported agriculture) share with our friend Kristine. It still seems to be 'springtime' at the farm, so we're deluged in greens of all sorts. One nice break from those, though, are the sweet little Hakurei turnips we get. Unlike the big, tough, purplish turnips you get from the store, these are small and tender. As you are probably not surprised to know, I just read the book "The Joy of Pickling" from cover to cover and now I'm completely inspired. I've made a number of recipes already, but I thought I'd sharea few photos to test out our new blog.

Here are the turnips themselves, nice and clean. A few weeks ago none of them were more than 1" across. Now they're growing.

This time I pickled them thusly:
  1. Wash and peel one pound baby turnips, make X-shaped cuts in each end.
  2. Soak in brine of 1.5 c. water + 2 tsp. pickling salt for one hour, drain.
  3. Add one fresh jalepeno (it was supposed to be red, but I only had a green one and I added 1 tsp. of Korean hot pepper powder).
  4. Cover with 3 Tbsp. sugar dissolved in 1.2 c rice vinegar and place in a one-quart jar.
  5. Refrigerate 2 days before eating. Will keep for a long time.

Looks pretty yummy, huh? I'll let you know how they are in one day!

Here's one more turnip recipe for the non-pickling inclined. I got it from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by way of the Julie/Julia blog. Turnips and Parsley:
  1. Wash and lop the tops and tails off of a passel o' turnips, then quarter.
  2. Blanch in salted water, 2 min.
  3. Drain and return to pan, add enough chicken broth to cover + 1 Tbsp. butter.
  4. Simmer 15 min. or until tender.
  5. Drain off most of the broth, add more butter, plus minced fresh parsley and some white pepper.
It's a nice accompaniment to a meal, and the parsley really makes the dish. I was curious as to whether turnips actually have any nutrition to them all, so I looked them up. Legend has it, the French starved to death rather than adopt such a crude vegetable. This is probably not true, especially since turnips only have 33 calories per cup, and they probably would have starved anyway.

I also am fermenting some sauerruben, which uses grated turnips in place of cabbage in a lactic-acid fermentation. It should be ready in about a week and I'll let you know how it is. It had better be damn good, after hours of slaving away over a cheapo mandoline to grate the 'nips. Hooray for silage.

Wow I can't believe I've become a photo-posting food blogger. *shudder* At least this is for the good of the family.


Lillian said...

So I had some of the turnips a day early and mmmm they were good! I was just eating typical leftovers-on-rice and sliced some of the 'nips on top. They were tender but with some crunch, with a nice zingy flavor--and not too spicy (as I feared they might be). They are a nice accompaniment to a meal.

Lillian said...

I will also make another turnip recipe with that bag I showed in the pictures. It will be for Middle Eastern style pink pickled turnips (a beet is added for color). Now I just have to figure out a way to eat all these pickles.

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