Fermented Turnip Pickles

How to make Middle Eastern pickled turnips and beets for falafels

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5 from 2 reviews

Looking for a classic turnip pickle for shawarma or falafels? The secret is fermentation! This quick, no-cook recipe is delicious and probiotic!  It’s so easy and reliable that it’s perfect for first-time fermenters.


Units Scale
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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, even after fermenting. 
  3. 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.
  4. Turnips really like to float, so use a weight to keep the vegetables submerged. Cap with a lid that can handle fermentation, and place the jar somewhere cool and dark to ferment. 
  5. The pickled turnips are ready after 3 days but can be left to ferment for longer (see notes for details). Once the pickles are opened, store them in the fridge and use them up within 1 month.


  • 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 cover the jar with a tea towel or a non-tightened lid. This ferment will bubble, so don’t use a tight-fitting lid unless it’s designed for fermentation.
  • 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.