Turnips Ayame Yuki
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Ayame Yuki turnips develop two-tone roots with violet-pink near the stems and white bottoms. The small roots are round, measuring 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter and have a small rootlet opposite the stem end. The white flesh is dense with a smooth, tender texture and offers a sweet flavor. The long, leafy turnip greens have red ribs and offer a bitter flavor.
Ayame Yuki turnips are available in the late fall and winter months.
Ayame Yuki turnips are a Japanese variety of Brassica rapa. They are a rare variety only grown by a small number of farmers in central Japan. They are sometimes called Ayame Snow turnips or Ayame Yuki Kabu. Their violet tops are a result of the polyphenol anthocyanin reacting with ultraviolet light as the roots begin to push up out of the ground.
Ayame Yuki turnips are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. They also contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and iron. Turnips contain trace amounts of B-complex vitamins, and vitamins E and K. The root portion contains a starch degrading enzyme called diastase which can aid in digestion and help prevent heartburn. The leaves are rich in beta-carotene and contain more nutrients than the root.
Ayame Yuki turnips are ideal for salads and pickling in vinegar thanks to their pink-violet color. They can be added to sushi, soups, stir-fries and rice dishes. Ayame Yuki turnips are served blanched or roasted with dashi and can be found accompanying meat or fish dishes. To store Ayame Yuki turnips, separate the leaves from their roots, and use the greens within 2 to 3 days. The roots will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Ayame Yuki are rare and expensive turnips in Japan. The greens of the two-tone turnips are used in the traditional Japanese rice soup, Nanakusa Gayu, made with 7 different herbs known as ‘the wild herbs of spring’. They include suzuna (turnip), seri (water dropwort), suzushiro (radish), gogyo (cudweed), notokenoza (nipplewort), nazuna (shepherd's purse), hakobera (chickweed). It is a Japanese custom to eat it on 7th of January every year to let the stomach rest after eating a lot of food during New Year and to pray for good heath in the coming year.
Ayame Yuki turnips are native to Japan and are grown in the Kanagawa and Ibaraki Prefectures which lie on either side of Tokyo. Farmers will only harvest enough to sell at the market each week to prevent spoilage and to maintain the freshness of the turnips. Ayame Yuki turnips can be spotted at wet markets in Tokyo and the surrounding areas.
Recipes that include Turnips Ayame Yuki. One is easiest, three is harder.
|La Fuji Mama||Nanakusa-Gayu (Seven-Herb Rice Soup)|
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