Monday, June 4, 2012

CSA Share Ninja Rescue: hakurei turnips and sunchokes

I made yummy ice cream with these first-of-the-season strawberries!
Veggies are slowly coming into season here in Vermont but a bit more quickly in other areas of the country, based on reader requests and comments.

I have reached out to the CSA programs in my area to let them know about this feature, so they can share it with their members. If you're in a CSA and finding this "service" helpful, please feel free to do the same!

This week, we're talking turnips and sunchokes.

Hakurei Turnips

Smaller and with a more delicate flavor than standard turnips, Hakurei turnips were developed in Japan in the mid-twentieth century. Word on the street is that you don't even have to peel these little cuties (heck, one of the recipe authors called them "the Hello Kitty of turnips").

But please don't be afraid to substitute in these recipes whatever kind of turnips you received in your share. You might be delightfully surprised!
  • Hakurei turnip salad: I seriously wished I lived closer to the From Scratch Club to take place in their great food swaps and just hang with the awesome ladies who come up with recipes like this one.
  • Glazed hakurei turnips: A bonus -- this recipe from Bon Appetit encourages you to substitute radishes if you can't find Hakurei turnips. I call that two recipes in one!
  • Pickled hakurei turnips: From Food in Jars, a super-quick turnip pickle -- I bet adding some radishes in a variety of colors as well would make this one really pretty to serve.
  • Curried hakurei turnips: Yep, curried -- come on, you know you want to see that (from The Veggie Project).


The vegetables formerly known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are primarily a fall and winter vegetable but some readers (namely, those who requested it) may still be seeing some where it is late spring. I'm particularly jazzed to feature it because it has origins related to Italians (me) and Vermont (my home). Read on...

Interestingly, sunchokes are neither artichokes (they're actually sunflowers) nor from Jerusalem. They were dubbed artichokes after French explorer Samuel de Champlain (yep, there's your Vermont connection) sent them back to France from what is now the Cape Cod area and noted that they tasted like artichokes. Additionally, it is believed that they picked up the Jerusalem monniker as a misunderstanding of the pronounciation of girasole, the Italian word for sunflower, which is what Italians in the United States called these beauties (the part we eat is the tuber of the plant).

History lesson complete -- now, how to cook 'em:

Remember, this is a weekly feature: recipes are posted on Mondays, so be sure to let me know, either by leaving a comment here or sending me an email, what new or interesting veggies you got in your CSA share box no later than Friday.


  1. I've never had a sun choke!

  2. My sweet spouse stopped at Mazza's and brought me a quart of strawberries! First I've had this season and I ate them all! So good, must make it out to pick soon!