I grow these little white salad turnips from Johnny's call Hakurei. It's an early turnip (38 days) typically harvested young at about 1-2" and is very sweet and mild -- unlike any other turnips I've had.
I planted several beds this fall on 9/15, but couldn't keep up with eating them and never thinned the beds. I have two 4x10 beds of them. Some are 5-6" in diameter, other are lopsided ovals from being squished. Most are sitting on top of the bed with one bit of root barely in the ground, yet the tops are healthy and green. And when I say the bed is packed, under the greens the bed is solid white turnips. We've had a cold fall (for us) with several frosts and one hard freeze, but the ground doesn't really freeze here. We've also had some hot weather this fall. Despite the strange weather, these have flourished.
I decided to taste one to see if they were okay. They are more than okay, they are even milder and sweeter than normal. They are still smooth and not the least bit woody or tough. I sliced one up raw and am snacking on it now.
I had already marked this variety as a winner for taste, but for the south it seems these are a winner all around. Unlike most turnips, they don't store well once picked but apparently they store quite well in the ground. It's good to have another "keeper" vegetable for fresh winter eating!
I haven't tried freezing them. When they say something is a storage turnip (or squash or whatever), they mean in a root cellar type environment. The ground is too warm for a real root cellar here and that's probably a lost cause for you entirely!
I grow Hakurei, too, because I have fond memories of the first sweet turnips in spring - as a kid, we would eat them raw, peeled and quartered like an apple. I didn't care for the turnips after the weather warmed up and the turnips got a spicier flavor. Hakurei extends the raw turnip season - but I have trouble finding someone to eat raw turnips with me. It must be an aquired taste!
While lurking here I saw your post on Hakurei. I love turnips and I purchased some Hakurei at a farmers market in La Jolla. I thought I was purchasing small white radishes. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered they were turnips. I found the seeds on Johnny's Seeds plus the lunchbox peppers. I love those small peppers. I am going to try my best to have a great crop. Thanks so much for the heads up on the Hakurei. Merry Christmas to me. Sharon
Thanks for the description and your results. Sounds interresting and I will have to try them. I planted out purple top turnips for fall browsing and to extend the browsing time until I have to buy hay for my goats. Wow! This really must be a good year for turnips as these really took off. I also have an extra bed w/just the turnips for winter feed for the chickens. Both are still eating off this crop and I've barely had to put out hay for the goats or extra feed for the chickens.
I've never eaten a raw turnip before, but I tried one sliced up as I was feeding the buck (he didn't think he would like turnips so I ate one in front of him so he could see that I wasn't going to die or anything). Don't know how purple tops are supposed to taste, but this one was pretty good. If I could grow an even sweeter one I can imagine they would be really good in a salad!
Yeah, I don't care for the Purple Top at all -- ugh! -- but if I wanted turnips for livestock fodder it would be the top choice. That and you can get huge bags of seed at the co-op for cheap. Terri, your story of eating one to prove to the goat it was okay cracked me up!
I ordered Scarlet Ohno Revival for next year in addition to the Hakurei. It is reported to be mild tasting as well but may have fuller and tastier tops than the Hakurei. Mostly I'm looking for a turnip I like that is OP, so I don't need to buy seed each year.
White Egg was a total failure for me. Perhaps if I had tried it as a fall crop it might have done better.
Does anyone besides me actually COOK turnip bottoms? They are the bomb!
Again, as with most of the pungent, large leafy greens I pick way past when ya'll pick 'em, adding a little sugar to the cooking pot cuts that pungency. Not enough to sweeten anything, mind you (I HATE sweet, green veggies), but just enough to balance the acidity.
Boiled with butter, cubed. Smaller purpletop whites, sliced and munched raw. My daughter thinks they taste like strange potatoes, and now, the green tops, lip smackin good totally edible plant. Me, wave hand, I like em!