Ever since coming to Israel and becoming aquainted with the middle-eastern practice of home pickling all kinds of vegetables in large glass jars, I have wanted to do it myself. I dream of having jars and jars of vegetables all lined up neatly on shelves...... Not because I want to eat them really, but I just love how they look!
I think that those jars somehow translate into an appreciation for all the wonderful vegetables that we've been given to enjoy. Pickling and preserving have always been a good way to use every last vegetable grown in the garden, to avoid waste, and to enjoy those summer strawberries, for example, in the middle of winter! For many years I have been making home-made pickles, but when a neighbor gave me a huge amount of leftover turnips I knew that was a sign to finally pickle something else!
Pickled turnips will certainly not appeal to everyone, but they are a stunning addition to any spread of salads and look great on a plate next to a sandwich. I didn't get around to photographing the turnips out of the jar, but they are a magenta pink color, and when I put them in turquoise colored dish the effect was quite stunning.
For those of you who are not sure what a turnip looks like exactly here are a few photos, with one of turnip flowers thrown in for some added beauty and interest (for the gardeners out there).
Pickling is not an exact science and there are a number of recipes out there. This is the recipe I used with good results, but if you plan to make them more than a week ahead of when you'll eat them, I would reduce the amount of salt, as the longer they sit the saltier they get. (You can always open the jar part way through the pickling process to see if you like the saltiness and add more salt if necessary.)
Pickled Turnips Recipe
1 pint wide-mouth jar (sterilize by pouring boiling water over and inside jar)
1 large beet boiled in water until tender
3 medium sized turnips
5-6 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of celery leaves
a hot pepper or two (optional, for those who like it spicy!)
1. Drop washed and trimmed and quartered turnips into boiling water for 2-3 minutes (I must confess, I ommited this part, but it may be important?)
2. Remove turnips from boiling water and peel. Slice turnips into half-moon shapes or quarter-moon shapes (some people cut them into french-fry like sticks, but I think the slices look nicer and are easier to pack efficiently into a jar).
3. Place a slice of beet at the bottom of the jar together with a few garlic cloves and celery leaves. Put in half of the turnips and then the rest of the beets/garlic/celery, followed by the remainder of the turnips.
4. Combine and bring to a boil: 1/2 cup each of white vinegar and water, and 1Tbs kosher salt. Pour boiled mixture over turnips and seal jar tightly. Store in a warm place for a minimum of 3-4 days. Once jar is opened it is probably advisable to store in the refrigerator, though most Israeli's keep the jar out on the counter
For quantities larger than a 1 pint jar follow these instructions:
After you have filled your jar with all of the vegetable ingrediants, fill the jar 1/3 to 1/2 with vinegar. Using a measuring cup (and paying attention to what you are doing) fill the rest of the jar with water, keeping track of the number of cups of water you've added. Now pour the water/vinegar out of the jar and into a pot. For every cup of water that you added to the jar, add 2 tblsp of kosher salt to the pot.Proceed as above.