Pickled Turnips are the pickle of the Middle East, vinegary, a bit of heat and completely addicting and they are the perfect complement to your favorite gyro, falafel, roast chicken or kebab.
Pickled Turnips are the most beautiful, overlooked, delicious pickle you’ll ever encounter. You probably have never heard of them unless you’ve had Middle Eastern food and at first glance you might be wondering why on earth they are SO pink. Rest assured, no food coloring was used in the production of these pickles.
Pickled Turnips get their gorgeous hue from hanging out with a handful of sliced beets for a week. They’re incredibly easy to make and they add the perfect vinegary, slightly spicy (from the garlic) bite for your favorite Middle Eastern meals. And, if I can just add, the perfect accompaniment to these delicious Pickled Turnips?
Some small hot chili peppers and the most awesome Armenian Zankou’s Garlic Paste with pita bread. A tip on the pita bread? If you can and you have one available, go to your nearest Middle Eastern grocery store to get authentic pita bread. I promise it is 100% different than the ones put out by sliced bread makers. My favorite brand is Toufayan, they’re old school awesome and Armenian.
Oh, hey there Mr. Falafel, looks like you’re got a colorful pickled friend there!
Pickled Turnips really make the PERFECT accompaniment to your Falafel sandwich.
If you’re wondering about the hummus and the falafel, yes those recipes are coming very soon. But I had to start with my favorite of the bunch. These Pickled Turnips. Some quick tips:
- Don’t eat the garlic. Trust me, it’s been hanging in vinegar for five days and it will be STRONG.
- You can totally eat the pickled beets, but the texture will be different than the turnips, less crunchy, more chewy.
- You can let them sit for longer than five days if you want, but however long ahead you prepare them, refrigerate them before serving. They taste so much better cold!
- Don’t, I repeat DON’T use table salt. It will taste awful. Stick to Kosher salt.
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup Kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 pounds turnips , peeled and cut into ½ inch thick batons
- 1 small beet , cut into ½ inch thick batons
- 2 cloves garlic , roughly chopped
- In a medium sized pot, add the water, Kosher salt and bay leaves.
- Heat on medium heat, stirring until salt is completely dissolved, 3-5 minutes.
- Let cool completely then add the vinegar.
- In a large container with a tight fitting lid, add your turnips and beets.
- Add the garlic (this can be a very rough chop, you don't eat the garlic, it is only for seasoning so it doesn't need to look pretty).
- Pour the liquid into the container.
- Let sit for 5 days.
- Before serving, they are best refrigerated.
- The pickles are usually good for about a month (they normally last about a week in our house because I eat them with everything!).
Love this recipe! I followed the recipe to a tee, but sadly, the turnips came out soft. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe, and first time the turnips were nice and firm.
Any thoughts on why that may be?
That is strange and disappointing. The only thing that came to mind was the size of the turnip baton? Were they smaller than the first time you tried the recipe? Sorry I don’t have a fail-safe trick to share with you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made these turnips! Our family loves them as does anyone who has tried them. I’ve had to share the recipe many times. Thank you for this delicious recipe!
I ADORE these and have been wondering what they were for 20 years!! I’m so happy, thanks you!
Amazing! I love them! They are just like the pickled turnips I get with shwarma that I love so much. I made a big jar-full 5 days ago and they’re half gone. On day 2 of the 5 day waiting time, I was already eating one or two each day ’cause I couldn’t wait. For those asking about cooking the beet or turnip first – no. Use them both raw. I peeled the beet also. I used pickling salt with mine. (It has no additives and I didn’t have kosher on hand.) I didn’t find it too salty at all – I used 1/2 cup of the salt. Thanks for this recipe, Sabrina. I will be making it a lot over the coming years!!
I LOVE this recipe and I’ve made many times without deviation from the recipe. A note on the saltiness, I always use Diamond Crystal salt and it comes out great, but the one time I used Morton’s Kosher salt it came out super salty, I later learned that not all brands a created equal, and Morton’s is known to be a sallier salt. Who knew! Hope that helpful 🙂
During the 5 day ferment, does the jar stay at room temp. or go in the refrigerator?
They stay at room temperature.
This will be my first time making these, do you cook the turnip and beet first before you start recipe then add the brine?
The recipe is a good starting point but it’s much too salty. I used 1/3 cup kosher salt (not the 97g in the metric conversion). Will continue to tinker to improve the recipe.
Our whole home loves pickled turnips, but this recipe is way, way too salty. None of us could even eat them:-(
I believe the reason why some people are commenting that the recipe is too salty is because the conversion from cups to grams is incorrect. I did an experiment and in order to fit 97.3g of kosher salt into my 1/3 cup measure, I had to pile it up into a huge precarious mountain that was spilling over the sides.
The 1/3 measure was closer to 65g and I was using an Australian ‘cup’, which is larger than an American ‘cup’.
Perhaps you could do your own experiment and weigh the salt next time then update the recipe please?
I believe you are correct Renee. The conversation is wrong. Thank you for your comment ?
Are the beets not peeled?
Just to clarify, you don’t peel the beets?
Made these because I want to make my own falafel at home. The restaurant I buy my falafel from only has onions, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños peppers as toppings. I will make my own from now on being that I have found this wonderful recipe. They have been sitting for a couple of hours but I couldn’t resist tasting them and they already taste great.
Just put everything together in the jars yesterday and am waiting for the turnips to pickle. Thanks for the easy recipe!
I made this and ended up using the pickled turnips as a snack for a couple of weeks. When they ran out I saved the brine and tossed in some hard boiled eggs which came out tasting delicious after pickling for about 24 hours. I may have to try and pickle other things in this brine as it seems to be very versatile.
Would it be wrong to add onions to the same brine?
You should experiment with whatever ingredients you enjoy.
What type of kosher salt do you use in your recipes, please? My understanding is that one common brand, Morton’s, is much saltier than the other common brand, Diamond. And do adjustments might be needed.
any brand of Kosher salt will work fine. whatever brand you have worked with before.
Thanks much for answering, but I know any brand will work. What I was hoping is that you could tell me which brand you use so I could know whether I need to adjust, and in which direction, for the brand I use.
Hello, I honestly use whatever salt is at my closest grocery store, as long as it’s kosher it should be fine.
Please indicate if the turnip can be rutabaga. Do these and or beets need to be cooked before being pickled?
Is there a method to preserve these for longer than a few weeks?
Hi Sabrina, I recently made these but I used 10% acetic acid white vinegar instead of 5%. Do you think they will still be ok to consume? I did try some and they tasted great, but I did not realize at the time there were different strengths of vinegar and that 10% could be potentially harmful? Thanks in advance
I would sit on the cautious side, I do not have experience with poison control information so I don’t feel comfortable giving a suggestion for this, sorry!
Hi sabrina. i only use 10 percent vinegar. it is a food grade vinegar. it has the bite that vinegar used to have. i use it on everything..
I make dill pickles every year with 10% white vinegar so it’s definitely consumable as a brine.
Question for ya’ll, how about using Himalayan Salt or Canning Salt? Anyone try that yet?
Can’t wait to experiment.
Can I water bath these for longer self life.
do the veggies sit out for 5 days and then you refrigerate them?
Nevermind…multitasking and crossed recipes lol
So it sits on the counter for 5 days or in the fridge? If on the counter do you then put in the fridge? Would it be bad to just put it in the fridge right away?
I have made this using table salt before seeing the don’t use table salt. Is it going to be awful? Shall I throw or wait and see?
Was coming to ask if it works with swede as well as turnip or only turnip do you knew?
It will likely be salty, when did you set it aside to pickle? I may just replace the liquid if it weren’t that long ago and use 2/3 the salt. I’m not sure what swede is?
Love things pickled in white
So excited to make this tomorrow! but question is it a dry bay leaf? or fresh? I’m ordering the groceries now and both options came up. Thank you!
So sorry I’m just seeing this but this recipe used dry bay leaves. Hope you enjoy them.
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