Hinona Kabu Turnips: An Exquisite Japanese Heirloom

HomePlantsFruits & VegetablesHinona Kabu Turnips: An Exquisite Japanese Heirloom

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Hinona Kabu turnips, a treasured variety from Japan, are distinguished by their elongated roots and vibrant purple-red shoulders. Known botanically as Brassica rapa var. rapifera, these turnips are also referred to as ‘Turnip of the Sun’ or ‘Long turnip’.

Botanical Name
Brassica rapa var. rapifera
Plant Type
Root Vegetable
Family
Brassicaceae
Height
Up to 12 inches long
Foliage
Edible leaves are dark green with red veins
Climate
Prefers cooler temperatures
Sun Exposure
Full sun to partial shade
Soil Requirements
Well-draining, slightly alkaline to neutral soil
Hardiness Zones
Suitable for spring or late summer planting for a fall harvest
Foliage Color
Dark green leaves with red veins
Season Features
Peak season from late fall through early spring
Special Features
Two-toned roots with a sweet and peppery flavor
Toxicity
Non-toxic
  • Hinona Kabu turnips originated in Japan in the 1470s, specifically from the town of Hino in Shiga prefecture. They have since been cultivated in various regions, including coastal California farms.
  • These turnips are known for their thin, elongated shape, measuring about one and a half inches in diameter and up to 12 inches in length.
  • It can grow straight or slightly curved, depending on the soil conditions. The skin is thin and semi-smooth, with fine white root hairs covering the surface.
  • Sow seeds directly in place after the last frosts, thinning to 10 cm when plants have 5 to 6 leaves.
  • Celebrated for their nutritional value, rich in vitamin C, and culinary versatility. They can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked, and are a staple in traditional Japanese dishes like sakurazuke.
  • As with many crops, Hinona Kabu turnips must be managed carefully to prevent ecological issues such as soil depletion.
  • Like other members of the Brassicaceae family, Hinona Kabu turnips can be susceptible to pests such as aphids and diseases like clubroot.

FAQs

What makes Hinona Kabu turnips unique?

Their elongated shape and vibrant coloring set them apart from other turnip varieties.

How can Hinona Kabu Turnips be prepared?

They can be eaten raw, pickled, roasted, grilled, or sautéed. The greens are also edible and can be cooked with garlic and lemon.

What is the best way to store Hinona Kabu Turnips?

For the longest storage life, separate the roots from the greens and store them in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator. The roots can last up to two weeks.

Are there any special recipes for Hinona Kabu Turnips?

Yes, in Japan, they are often peeled and pickled in a dish known as sakura-zuke, which is served as a condiment or side dish to sushi.

What are the ecological considerations when growing Hinona Kabu Turnips?

Careful management is required to prevent soil depletion and ensure sustainable cultivation practices.

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