Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pickled turnips

A couple of weeks ago I was ordering a meal in a Lebanese place in Montréal. In  order to answer my question about a French word I didn't understand on the menu, the young woman serving us whipped out her phone to get a translation.  It was "turnips" and, of course, they were the pinkish pickled turnips that I have often eaten in Lebanese restaurants though I had not really thought about how they were produced.

Once home, I pulled out my Middle Eastern authorities, Claudia Roden and Abla Amad, and read up about Middle Eastern pickling of vegetables. This is mainly achieved with vinegar and water and sometimes salt.  Beetroot or red cabbage are the agents used to colour other vegetables.  Sometimes other elements such as celery or garlic are added for additional flavour.

I decided to go for the simple: turnips, beetroot, white wine vinegar, water and salt. I just peeled and chopped and put them in the jars making sure that there was beetroot in both.  You could slice the beetroot finely and build the vegetables up in layers and achieve a nicer visual outcome.

The photo at the top of the post was taken just after I bottled them, and the other taken the morning after already shows the colour of the beetroot taking affect. Now it's a waiting game as they won't be ready for 7-10 days.


4 medium white turnips
1 medium beetroot
3 dessertspoons salt
White wine vinegar


Cut the tops and bottoms of the turnips and peel
Slice into chunks in whatever shape you like
Cut the top and bottom off the beetroot
Cut into slices
Place the turnip pieces and the beetroot slices into a bowl
Add salt and mix
Place the turnip and beetroot into glass jars
Pour white wine vinegar into the jars until they are about one third full
Add water to the jars making sure the vegetables are covered
Seal the jars and put aside for 7-10 days when the turnips should be ready
These will last about six months kept in the vinegar and water solution.

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