Spring Turnips

This weekend I attended my first farmer’s market of the season, the Coventry Farmers’ Market. The spring greens were out in full force and the lettuce was plentiful. However, I wanted to purchase vegetables absent from the grocery store shelves. The multi colored radishes and spring turnips caught my eye. This bunch of radishes were pink, purple and white. It is pleasing to the eye to have various colors of the same veggie present in a dish. You are likely familiar with peppers and tomatoes with different shades. Carrots, cauliflower and chard are also available in non-standard colors. Purple cauliflower anyone?

Spring turnips, aka hakurei or salad turnips, are different then the thick, dense root vegetable present in the fall. The fall turnips which are white with purple tops, are unappetizing served raw. As the name suggests, spring turnips have a more delicate and can be eaten raw in salads. The flavor is similar to a radish, earthy, crunchy and peppery. After a winter of roasting veggies, to bring out the sweetness in a strongly starchy vegetable, the raw snap of a spring turnip is a welcome treat.

Here are two salad recipes featuring delightful spring veggies.

Radish and Spring Turnip Salad

  • 12 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 small salad/spring turnips, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar 
  • half a lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon chives, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and season with salt.

Grated Turnip and Apple Salad

  • 3-4 small spring turnips, about 1 cup, grated
  • 1-2 tart green apple, about 1 cup, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • Juice of 1 large lemon or lime
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Fresh ground pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.