Kabu (Japanese turnip) pickles

You may want to enjoy kabu (Japanese turnip) when it’s in season. There are two of them: spring (March – May), and fall (November – January), although it may vary depending on where it’s grown. 

Spring kabu is tenderer whereas fall kabu is sweeter and richer, although both are sweeter, softer, juicier, and less crunchy than regular turnip.

Because it can easily become bland, it’s important to choose high quality kabu in order to enjoy its full flavor. Farmer’s market should be a great place to find them.

My favorite kabu dish is pickles. It is soft yet crispy, and has very unique sweet aroma to it. When the vegetable is fresh, you don’t have to do much. Just slice them as thin as possible, and then put it in pickle brine, at least overnight. Authentic kabu pickle brine calls for kombu (seaweed), sugar (1 to 2 tbs) and vinegar (2tps) for about 300-400 grams of turnip. Many people add a little bit of chili pepper. You may not be familiar with kombu (seaweed), but it used to add some earthy (umami) broth/base flavor.  It may be too expensive just for some pickles. You could use some kombu dashi, powdered and individually packaged, as an alternative. 

Or if you are too lazy to make brine, any kind of pickle juice could work. My lazy solution is sushi vinegar.