Turnips, Apples & Green Tomatoes
Chances are if you see small, ping-pong-ball- like vegetables in your CSA box or at the farmers market, they are Hakurei turnips, also known as Tokyo turnips or Japanese turnips. These “salad turnips” are crunchy and sweet, similar in texture to a radish, but not as spicy, and they taste great raw or roasted. There’s no need to peel them, just remove the greens (those are good to eat too, following a quick trip with olive oil and shallot or garlic in a hot pan) leaving a 1-inch handle and give them a scrub with a vegetable brush and water.
If roasting, leave the inch of greens and the root attached (both of which crisp nicely in the oven), cut the turnips in half, toss with olive oil in a small bowl, turn out onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, and bake at 400°F until crisp-tender and beginning to caramelize, about 20–30 minutes.
If you’re making a salad, cut into thin slices with a knife or mandoline; either way, I bet you’ll enjoy holding on to the green handle until you toss it in the composter! Cut the turnips in advance and keep them in a bowl of ice water— this gets them extra crisp and delicious.
Come October, the apple trees scattered around the neighborhoods and ranches of our valley are heavy with fruit— that is, if we haven’t already had an early snowstorm that forced their picking and hastened the leaves’ fall. If you find yourself with a stockpile of apples this autumn, there are plenty of good things you can make with them: applesauce, apple pie, apple bars, juice, and cider are some of my favorite appley things.
Local businesses provide options for cider making: Gallatin Valley Botanical will press your apples into a custom cider on their antique press out at Rocky Creek Farm (alternatively, you can purchase or pick apples from their orchard or skip straight to purchasing a jug of cider from their refrigerator) and Lockhorn Cider House will trade you a pint of their fine cider for every 25 pounds apples you donate into this year’s Backyard Blend, proceeds from which go to local nonprofits.
A fun thing to make if you find yourself with a lot of cider is an apple cider concentrate, also known as “boiled cider.” Intensely concentrated, this liquid can be used like a syrup on pancakes or desserts, or added to pulled pork and other braises to add sweetness and depth—you can even reconstitute it back into a steamy mug of cider.
When you still have green tomatoes on the vine and snow is looming in the forecast, you have a few options, some less messy than others. Pulling the vine and hanging it in a space protected from the elements is one choice, but I only recommend this if you have a greenhouse, barn, or someplace you aren’t going to mind some dirt and debris. A lesser commitment is to snip off sections of the vine and lay them out on sheet pans or in cardboard boxes where the tomatoes will ripen happily indoors over several weeks.
At a certain point I usually tire of living with tomatoes all over my house, so I make something tasty with the remaining greenies. Th e following green tomato apple chutney from Joyce Goldstein is fantastic served with turmeric- scented rice and chicken or on top of grilled brats or hot dogs.
You can make a half-batch and put it in jars for the refrigerator—keep one and give the rest to friends. Or, for longer storage, make the full recipe and process the jars following the water bath canning instructions on the Ball website, freshpreserving.com.