In the summer (or whenever it’s not raining and/or extremely cold), my friends and I usually go have lunch in the park by Exmouth Market. This market has a number of stalls that sell food, mostly awesome food, and we manage to get a bit of fresh air and get away from the office at the same time.
Recently, one of those stalls has been calling to me, like a siren. It makes the best falafel wraps ever. Extremely simple, but the falafel is delicious, and it includes something I hadn’t tried before but am now a massive fan of: pickled turnip.
Yes I am biased. I LOVE pickles. Cauliflower is my favourite; I pretty much won’t eat it unless it is pickled.
But turnips. Turnips. Turnips don’t taste nice. Turns out that if they’re pickled, they do. The traditional way of pickling them (arabic? jewish? who knows?) uses beetroot to give them a pink colour, or red cabbage to tint them purple.
I had to make this at home. This is too good to not be experimented with in my lab. So off I went. I looked up a number of online recipes, but in the end decided to go with the lovely Claudia Roden, that comes highly recommended from one of my favourite cooks.
Claudia suggests a water-to-vinegar ratio of 3-1. She mentions that this can be fiddled with, according to taste. I guess the more vinegar you put in, the longer they’ll last. I don’t think it will be an issue, as I plan on eating copious amounts of them.
My 1kg of turnips made a lot of pickles, so I had to add a bit more liquid than Claudia. Hopefully that won’t make too much of a difference.
I’ve kept them in the sun as much as possible (damn you british weather!) and the turnips have decided to float to the top of the jar. I will let you know if this affects them when they’re ready – 8 days to go!
Torshi Left - Pickled Turnip
from Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Midde Eastern Food (my adaptations in italics)
1kg small white turnips
a few celery leaves
2-4 cloves of garlic (optional – I used 4)
1 raw beetroot, peeled and sliced or cut into medium-sized pieces (1 used 2 medium beetroots)
4-5 level tablespoons (about 90g) of salt
1l water (1 used 1250ml)
300ml white wine vinegar (1 used 375 ml)
Choose small white turnips. Peel and wash them, and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size (I cut mine into chip shaped chunks). Pack the pieces in a clean glass jar with celery leaves and garlic cloves if liked, placing pieces of raw beetroot between the layers at regular intervals.
Dissolve salt in water and stir in vinegar. Cover the vegetables with this solution and seal the jar tightly with a glass top if possible. Store in a warm place. The turnips should mellow and be ready in about 10 days. Then transfer the jar to a cool spot.
This pickle should be eaten within a month to 6 weeks of making.
I can’t wait until the 10 days are up. Mmmmmmmm