Karl’s Japanese Pickled Turnip Greens

While you can make this recipe with any turnip, the Japanese turnip—kabu (カブ)—of choice for pickling is the small, white, round,  Hakurei. The last time I made Japanese pickled turnips, the green tops were wilted and not really appealing. This time they were fresh and green and not to be wasted. I decided to make Nozawana tsukemono—pickled turnip greens.

Karl’s Japanese Pickled Turnip Greens

Karl’s Japanese Pickled Turnip Greens

Note: There were not a lot of recipes for this pickle online—at least in English—but one I found called started with 50 Kg. of turnip leaves. Using that recipe as an inspiration, I struck out on my own.

I was planning a poké chirashi sushi—scatter sushi—for Sunday’s family dinner. Fish and rice is not enough to balance a meal, so I needed some vegetables to round out the dish. In Japan that usually means a variety of Japanese pickles (漬物, tsukemono). Most pickles take time, so I started making them on the Wednesday before the dinner.

Note: For the master poké chirashi sushi recipe, I took small serving of each of the pickles I had made and “scattered” them around my fish and rice—not counting the additional store bought tidbits. It has taken time to write up what turned out to be seven separate new recipes that all ended up on one plate.

Before the introduction of refrigeration, Japanese pickles were an important method of preserving vegetables. Japanese cuisine uses several methods of pickling—salt, rice bran, sake lees, soy sauce, vinegar, and miso. Each technique imparts its own taste and texture to the final pickle. Besides the pickling sauce, you may also add a variety of ingredients to add interest/color/flavor to the basic recipe.

Karl’s Japanese Pickled Turnip Greens


greens of 3-4 turnips
2 Tbs. mirin
2 Tbs. unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. white miso
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 Japanese dried chile, seeded and minced

Also needed

1 seal-able quart plastic bag


1. Wash and dry the turnip greens.

2. Chop the greens and stems coarsely.

3. Place the turnip greens in a seal-able quart plastic and add the rest of the ingredients—mirin, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, sugar, salt, and crushed chile.

4. Shake the bag to distribute all of the ingredients and dissolve the sugar and salt.

5. Press the air out of the bag and pickle for at least 4 hours.

Tip: I wanted a good pickle so I let these greens pickle for four days. Flip the bag occasionally to ensure all of the greens are in contact with the pickling sauce.

Note: While this recipe is a bit small to use most pickle presses on, I put several bags of different pickles into my press and press them all together.

6. Squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer the pickles to a bowl.

Note: For this recipe I took, small serving of each pickle I made and “scattered” them around my fish and rice.

1 Comment

Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian

One response to “Karl’s Japanese Pickled Turnip Greens

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Poké Chirashi Sushi | Jabberwocky Stew

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