Sundays with Sparky: Salted Mizuna and Nukazuke-style Pickled Turnips

Sundays with Sparky: Salted Mizuna and Nukazuke-style Pickled Turnips

One of the best parts of summer is that I’ve got friends with an overabundance of produce – and this post is brought to you by a particularly generous friend who has a CSA. The haul included significantly more than just turnips, onions, and Mizuna, so I thought some kind of preservation might be in order.

Mizuna, although it looks delicate, is a beautiful sturdy green that can be eaten raw or cooked. In Japan, it’s often treated the way we treat Gravlax; salted heavily, pressed and then used as a condiment for plain rice. It is usually flavored with kelp and other Japanese condiments, but we opted for a plain salt version – making this a two-ingredient recipe!



We got out two baking pans that nested nicely, and Sparky put a thin sprinkle of salt over the bottom.




Then we laid in a layer of Mizuna and alternated with laying down greens and sprinkling salt.




Once all the Mizuna was in the large baking pan, we set the smaller one on top of it, weighted it with milk cartons, and left it in the refrigerator overnight.



sIMG_2297The next morning, we poured off the liquid and gave it a rinse (without rinsing I found it inedibly salty.) We chopped it up (don’t skip this step – the stems can be difficult to chew) and tried it with rice: the combination of a crunchy bitter green with the salty flavor was delicious. Keep in mind that while these are “preserved,” they only keep as long as their fresh counterparts.

Next, the turnips: again, not a complicated recipe. These are “refrigerator pickles,” meaning that they aren’t shelf-stable and while they’ll keep longer than the salted greens, they still have a limited shelf-life of a week or so.

1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar, but rice vinegar is traditional)
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
Thinly sliced turnips
Chopped scallion
(chili flakes are traditional, but we didn’t use them)

sIMG_2264Sparky peeled and sliced up the turnips, first cutting them in half so he had a flat surface against the cutting board. He then diced up the scallion and put the two vegetables together in a canning jar.




We mixed up the brine, poured it over the veggies and set it in the refrigerator overnight.



We were pleasantly surprised to find they turned out much like Vietnamese “do chua,'” the daikon-carrot pickles that go on top of Bahn Mi sandwiches. They’ve been trotted back out several times to act as a condiment for different foods. Enjoy!


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