Pickled Turnips, or Tayta’s Pink Pickled Turnips, as I like to call them, are a staple at our house. Usually, pickled turnips are served alongside olives and green pickles at the dinner table. They’re added to chicken and beef Shawarma sandwiches, falafel, and (like us) placed in a small dish at the table to be eaten with just about anything. If you haven’t had them, you are in for a serious treat!
After I took down rough notes of my Tayta’s recipe, I scoured the internet looking to see what other people have done. Some recipes call for garlic and bay leaves, another even suggested adding a chili pepper. But why change something that is so simple and so good? I may be a little biased, but my Tayta’s Pickled Turnips are the best pickled turnips.
Measuring Cups Optional was created on the premise that great cooking in my family doesn’t depend on traditional, standard measurements. My mother learned to cook from the best cook in the world, my Tayta (Grandmother) and I have never gotten a recipe from Tayta that included standard measurements. I grew up watching her and my mom add handfuls and sprinkles of ingredients. So it was no surprise when I asked for her pickled turnips recipe and she gave me — you guessed it — non-traditional measurements. And I quote “1/2 coffee cup vinegar” to which I had to get clarification. Was she referring to an American Coffee mug? Or did she mean a Turkish coffee cup? Don’t mugs and Turkish coffee cups come in different sizes?! How am I supposed to quantify this to my readers? You can see my draft notes below, which include a mix of English and Arabic text, in addition to out-of-order instructions.
Don’t worry, I did my best to quantify each measurement for the final recipe. A few notes from Tayta:
- Boil the beets before placing them in with the turnips, so that they soften up with the turnips. If they’re not boiled ahead of time, they don’t ripen as fast as turnips do. Side note: This is the ONLY time I actually eat beets. I’m not a huge fan.
- Use apple cider vinegar.
- Measure out the amount of water you need by filling the jar up with water, and pouring it into a volume measuring cup/jug.
- DO NOT, I repeat, do not open the jars before the 2 week wait period is over. Store the jars out of sight, set a calendar notice on your phone and forget about them until then.
- 1 beet, peeled and washed
- 2 Turnips
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 heaping tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 cups water
- Start by boiling the peeled and washed beet in 4 cups water. Boil for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat
- Meanwhile, peel, wash and cut the turnips into wedges or slices. I cut mine into slices (about the thickness of French fry)
- Remove the beet from the boiling water, but do not discard the water.
- Cut the beet the same way you cut the turnips. Then divide in half.
- Fill up your jars with turnips and beets, making sure to use about 1 turnip and 1/2 of a beet for each jar. Don't be shy about squeezing as many turnips in there as possible.
- Separately, mix the beet water with vinegar, salt and sugar and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Pour the mixture into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch from the mouth of the jar.
- Close tightly and store at room temperature for 2 weeks. DO NOT OPEN THE JARS UNTIL THE TWO WEEKS ARE UP.
- After two weeks, place the jar in the fridge for consumption and storage.
I boil the beets so that they can be eaten with the turnips. If they're not boiled ahead of time, they don't ripen as fast as turnips do.