Have you ever had a shawarma or falafel plate with those delicious purple pickles? They are actually pickled turnips and beets!
In fact, they are fermented turnips and beets. This means that fermentation (not vinegar) was used to make the pickles.
The easiest Pickled turnips
Making fermented turnip pickles may seem a bit daunting if you’ve never fermented anything before. However, they are incredibly easy, reliable, and delicious. The perfect recipe for beginners.
- Fermenting means that there is no cooking involved. Just pack everything into a jar, leave it for a few days and you’re done!
- It’s a zero-waste condiment. All you need is a glass jar and fresh vegetables.
- While I love my fido jars (affiliate link), feel free to make these pickles in a left over pasta sauce jar or whatever you have in your kitchen.
Adding a starter culture
Beets and turnips naturally have the culture they need to ferment on their skin. So there’s no need to add an additional starter culture. Just use the recommended amount of salt and you’re done!
The photo above is after just 24 hours. You can already see the bubbles!
However, if your turnips and beets are older, with tough skin, then I do recommend peeling them before fermenting. This is especially important for really old beets which tend to get a bit of mold where the stalk meets the root.
Here’s how to use a starter culture:
- Add 2 Tbsp of starter culture to the jar of pickled turnips with the water.
- Reduce the fermentation time to 2 to 3 days.
- After fermenting, store the pickled turnips in the fridge to stop the fermentation.
Here are a few options for a starter culture:
- Raw apple cider vinegar with a mother (affiliate link): This is the best option if you’re new to fermenting as it’s readily available in most grocery stores.
- Sauerkraut juice or brine from another fermented pickle
- Homebrewed kombucha (store-bought doesn’t always contain enough live cultures)
- Whey from cultured cheese or milk kefir.
- Purchased vegetable starter (affiliate link)
Serving Pickled turnips
We probably make a few quarts of pickled turnips each year. They are actually one of the few ferments that my husband, Brad, will actually decide to make himself! That’s because they are so easy and delicious!
They are a perfect condiment for adding a bit of pizzazz to all sorts of dishes:
Honestly, a batch of pickled turnips never lasts long in our house!Print
Pink Pickled Turnips
Looking for a classic turnip pickle for shawarma or falafels? The secret is to make fermented turnip pickles! This quick, no-cook recipe is delicious and probiotic! It’s so easy and reliable that it’s perfect for first-time fermenters.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Pickles
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 cups filtered water, to cover (chlorine-free)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 2 cups of turnips, sliced (about 6 small or 3 large)
- 1 small beet
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- It’s easiest to make these pickles in a quart-sized (1 L) jar. There will be a bit of extra room, but not everyone has a 3/4 L jar.
- Measure the salt and water into the bottom of the jar. Give it a good stir to dissolve the salt. It will take a bit of time to fully dissolve the salt, so start to prepare your vegetables, then give it another stir.
- Fresh, young turnips and beets, don’t need to be peeled. Leaving the peel on is the best way to kick start the ferment. However, older beets and turnips should be peeled because the skin is tough.
- Thinly slice the turnips and beets. I like matchsticks, but thin semi-circles are just fine. Pack the vegetables, garlic, and bay into the jar.
- Turnips really like to float, so use a weight to keep the vegetables submerged. Cap with a lid that can handle fermentation, and allow to ferment somewhere cool and dark. (See notes for details).
- The pickled turnips are ready after 3 days. Once the pickles are opened, store them in the fridge and consume them within 1 month.
- If you have to peel your beets and pickles, I recommend using a starter culture to help the ferment go quickly. See the section above for more details.
- All that’s necessary for these pickles is to keep the vegetables below the liquid. Use a smaller jar or a well fitted-weight. Then just cover the jar with a tea towel or a non-tightened lid. This ferment will bubble, so don’t use a tight-fitting lid.
- These pickles can be left to ferment for up to a year. However, it’s important to use a sanitized jar with a gasket that is fitted to allow gas to escape. Personally, I like fido jars and pickle pipes (affiliate links).
Keywords: pink, turnip pickles, gyro, shawarma, falafel, Turkish, Greek, Lebanese, spring, summer, fall, probiotic, vegan