Fermented Turnip Pickles

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

Between what’s been going on at home and all the upheaval in Europe, it has made for an exhausting week. I am tired; my body, my mind, my soul, my heart, everything is exhausted and everything hurts.

It sounds selfish of me as I complain about my first world problems at home while others are facing real problems across the seas. What’s happening to the people of Syria is tragic, having to risk life and your loved ones to flee from your home, your country, maybe the only life you’ve known to a strange place, a new place that could be a safe haven for a new life but at the mercy of others.

The image of that little boy washed up on the Turkish beach was heart breaking. I cannot imagine the pain of the father who had to bury his sons and his wife. And it doesn’t stop with him, there are so many of them.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

It’s been quite numbing to read all the comments from people on this crisis. There are some beautiful people out there with kind souls who want to help and want their governments to help. There are also a lot of ugly people out there. I have read my fair share of mean and nasty comments from these individuals.

The fact is, unless you’ve been in their shoes, or know of someone in this situation, you cannot understand. Many don’t have the ability to empathise; to put themselves in that situation and try to feel what another person could be feeling.

I understand or at least try to understand everyone’s point of view. I know what taking in refugees means to a country, it’s a burden on their social system, their healthcare and their taxes. I understand why so many are unwilling to take on this responsibility.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

I understand that all these refugees may not be all what they say they are, some are truly without homes and some are opportunists. But, all you have to do is Google the images in Syria, there is nothing but rubble. Where are these people supposed to go? They didn’t start this war. Why are they being punished? 

My best friend’s husband is from Syria. His family is still there. Another close friend of mine is Palestinian with most of her family in Syria. They have been refugees twice, thrown out of their home country and now country-less again. I know these families, I have eaten with them, talked with them, laughed with them, they are my friends. My heart breaks for their suffering and for all the others like them.

To know people from these oppressed countries casts a different light on your thoughts and your emotions. You see things from their perspective and not from what the media wants to tell you. You know the truth.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

In my comfortable home here, all I can do is donate and contribute what I can. Every little bit helps.

On the house front, my teen daughter is having typical 14 year old melt downs and my son broke is arm skateboarding.


We’re going to chat about these teen meltdowns soon, but it will be in another post because honestly, I don’t understand today’s youth.

At all. 

There seems no good segue into the recipe so this will have to do. Pickles…love them or hate them? 

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

I like them, maybe even love them. It all depends on the pickle, the method and the usage. I’m not one to buy a huge pickle at the movie theatre and bite a chunk and pass it a round to the family (this actually happened at a movie we went to see once, a family sitting in front of us, had one pickled cucumber and they passed it amongst the mom, dad and teen son. Needless to say, I was more fixated on this pickle passing than the movie)

I love pickles on my hamburger, relish on my hotdog if I’m forced to eat one, pickles in my egg salad, in my potato salad, pickled turnips and cucumbers in my shawarma. I love Indian pickled mangoes and limes, I love preserved lemons and Italian assorted pickled vegetables. I think I’m just not a fan of pickled seafood because I’m not really a big fan of un-pickled seafood and so, I very much doubt I’d like it sour.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

Fermentation has become quite popular these days because of the health benefits of eating fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha are  all “in” things. And why not? If they are good for your tummy, we should consume a few to make our guts happy.

Kombucha is hit or miss with me. Sometimes I can tolerate it but most times it’s just awful. I rather eat kimchi and sauerkraut, and these lovely fermented turnip pickles.

Turnip pickles are a Middle Eastern thing. Most commonly stuffed inside a deliciously, spiced shawarma, they add a pleasing crunch and a salty, vinegary hit. I love them inside a shawarma; bright and tangy against the warm, spiced meat and the spicy, garlic sauce or tahini sauce.

When my farm stand carried these beautiful Hakurei turnips early summer, I picked up a few to try my hand at pickling/fermenting. If you are going to eat pickles, make them healthier by fermenting rather than using vinegar. Your gut will thank you.

Hakurei Turnips

This is a blue print for lacto fermenting almost any vegetable: carrots, beets, cucumbers, green beans and so on.

I can tell you about lacto fermentation and how it works and all, or I can just tell you to check out this great site, Nourished Kitchen, that I used to learn all about lacto fermentation. It has all the info on lacto fermentation, many recipes and tips.

My recipe is my adaptation from a few recipes I browsed. All were a little different but I wanted a small batch to try first so I adjusted a couple of recipes to get mine. It worked so I’m sharing it, two months later 🙂 

Hakurei turnips are out of season now, but like I said, you can use any vegetable and regular turnips or beets. These are addictive. I can easily eat a whole turnip’s  worth of slices from the jar. 

The intial fermentation takes place in the jar on the counter. After about 5 days, we move the jar to the fridge. If your house is very warm, you only really need three days on the counter. Warmer temps speed up fermentation. You should see bubbles in the jar and you may have to open up your jar every few days to release some of the gases.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

I left my jar on the counter for 7 days because my kitchen stays pretty cool. I opened the jar every couple of days to release the gas. After 7 days, I placed the jar in the fridge. 

The pickles are still great, only a few left but they are nice and sour. The longer they ferment, the more sour they will get. I have a few turnips left in the fridge and I’m going to use some of the fermented brine to jumpstart another jar of pickled turnips.

You might see some funky stuff float to the top but if they smell pleasantly acidic and fermented, then they are fine.

There is a lot of information out there about fermentation. Some require whey to start the lacto fermentation, some need a lot of salt, some say not a lot of salt….yeah, lots of information. All I can say is, this equation worked for me.

So, if you want to have a go at making a small batch of fermented pickles, here’s how I did it.

Fermented Pickled Turnips


Fermented pickled turnips; tangy and crunchy.
  • 2 cups/475ml spring water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 small turnips, cut into strips
  • 1 beet, cut into strips
  • 2 grape leaves, to keep pickles crisp and under the brine
  • 1 quart/ 950ml Ball jar/preserving crock, can use a larger jar too.
  1. Heat the spring water and the salt together until the salt dissolves.
  2. Allow the brine to cool completely.
  3. Add the cut up turnips and beets to the jar.
  4. Add them in tightly.
  5. Once the brine has cooled, pour into the jar carefully.
  6. You may not need all the brine.
  7. Cover all the turnips and the beets and leave an inch or two from the top of the jar if possible.
  8. The fermentation will cause gases to form so a little room is needed on the top.
  9. Place the grape leaves over the top of the turnips.
  10. I used a fork to gently tuck and wrap the leaves around the edges, making sure all the turnips are submerged in the brine.
  11. Out the lid on the jar and lightly tighten.
  12. Set out on the counter top for 5-7 days.
  13. If your kitchen is very warm, move into the fridge after 3 days.
  14. Check to see if bubbles are forming after 2-3 days.
  15. Unscrew the jar to release the pressure and tighten again.
  16. Make sure the turnips stay submerged, add more brine if needed to cover.
  17. Make sure the grape leaves help keep the turnips submerged.
  18. Pickles are ready after about a week or so.
  19. Keep them in the fridge.
  20. They will get more sour the longer they ferment.
The grape leaves help keep the pickles crisp and crunchy. There are other things you can use to do the same thing but grape leaves are fairly easy to find.
You can add chilli flakes or whole chillies to spice these pickles up.
As long as the pickles smell pleasantly fermented, they are doing well.

Fermented Turnip Pickles | Coffee and Crumpets

How’s your week been? This week has started off with a three day weekend so it’s been nice! Didn’t get up to the mountains but did a bit of cooking, a bit of shopping and a lot of eating!

Hope your weekend was great! 

  1. It’s been a tough week hasn’t it? It’s tragic that is takes such a tragedy for action to be taken. My mum was a stateless refugee and was allowed to travel to Australia with the Red Cross from Europe after the Second Wold War.
    Anyhoo……pickles. I’m a pickle girl too and always have sauerkraut in the fridge. Although I don’t add water – I need to check out that link and do a bit more reading. As for kombucha? I’m not won over – my head tells me it’s good for me and my taste buds disagree.

  2. The photo is something that will be ingrained in my mind forever. Humanity has failed, now that this is what things have come to.
    May Allah ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters.
    Henna recently posted..Poached EggsMy Profile

  3. You have such a beautiful soul, Nazneen, for caring so deeply for those who are less fortunate. I couldn’t agree more with you – “unless you’ve been in their shoes, or know of someone in this situation, you cannot understand.” – so, so true!

    I’ve never had pickled turnips by themselves before – but I really enjoyed having had them in shawarma – I need to try this soon!
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted..Vanilla Protein Crepes {with Apple Pumpkin Protein Filling}My Profile

  4. I know the image of that little boy on the beach will haunt me for the rest of my life. I count my blessings everyday for the life we enjoy here.

    Your pickles look wonderful. It has been far too long since I have pickled or canned anything. I have made some cucumber pickles using the lacto fermentation method and loved the results.

  5. What is happening in Syria is terrible, the photo of the child was indeed a heartbreaking.. this war has to end somehow they have to gain back their country. A couple of days ago I’ve heard a heartbreaking story on NPR about a family fleeing to Europe laughing, crying and screaming in the same time for someone to help. It is a disaster indeed.
    Your pickled turnips remind me of my mom, she makes the most delicious crunchy pickled turnips and cucumbers in the whole world. I loved eating those with ” fool medames” or beans sandwiches .. sooo delicious.
    Amira recently posted..We’ll be back soonMy Profile

  6. I have never had a pickled turnip; maybe because it’s a Middle Eastern thing. I would love to try a few of your pickles. Everything looks so pretty and colourful in the jar. Yes, the world is in a mess and while we in the West can offer places to a number of refugees, the reality is the populations of the nations where there is all the strife, far outnumber Western populations. There will come a time when the West simply cannot absorb any more refugees and then what – that’s the scary part xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Hydro Majestic High TeaMy Profile

  7. Your anguish on the lives lost and pain that people are going through hits home. I have been a refugee in my own country. The gates that open when you have everything to offer, suddenly close when you ask for help. It’s a sad and terrible truth of human nature.
    The war that simple people never call for because burdens of simple everyday life are hard as is, strikes them first. My heart bleeds and i feel helpless.
    Ansh recently posted..Whole Wheat Naan #BreadBakersMy Profile

  8. Your empathy to others in plight comes through on your blog so strongly, iIt’s wonderful. The whole situation with the refugees is terrible. They don’t choose to leave their country, they’re driven out and it behoves us all to be grateful for what we have and to help them.

    I haven’t tried making my own fermented food yet. I’ve made pickles but would love to try my hand at Kimchi. Your turnips look lovely, wonderful photographs and very enticing.recipe.
    Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Top Ten Tips To See Paris Like A ParisianMy Profile

  9. You are so kind, Nazneen – you are always thinking about others, and in such caring ways. The situation is very scary, and we aren’t immune to it here in the U.S., either – our immigration issues are also scary – so many unnecessary deaths in the desert…And, like you, we do what we can here and abroad, and pray for peace someday. I absolutely DO have hope for humanity.

    Your pickles intrigue me – I have not been into the fermentation thing as much as others. I do love sauerkraut, but haven’t had kombucha or kimchi (the latter is a garlic thing…). If I see some good turnips this weekend, I might give this a whirl, as I love pickles! xx
    David recently posted..Not Your Usual Birthday CakeMy Profile

  10. My family and I are not fans of pickles… but I would just like to try this one — made from a different vegetable than cucumber.
    May the Lord help all the refugees who have been suffering with this war for years. May they have a better life outside their country. I have donated several times, but I won’t ask for donations anymore. What I found out months ago is people get upset for simply be asked for donations– no matter how terrible is the situation of the victims. I got so upset when I saw people throwing ice buckets on their heads and exhibiting it on social media. It shows how vain are their hearts. Their efforts were concentrated in appearing on social media, in following a trend rather than helping those in need. And it’s so true, they’d have helped people in need in other occasions when no trend is involved — rather they got/get upset. It seems if it’s not on social media, things don’t get done. Sorry but this is the way I see things happening nowadays. I don’t have an optimistic view about humanity and hope the Lord come soon.
    Denise Browning@From Brazil To You recently posted..10-Minute, Healthy Fish Stew Packets (Moqueca En Papillote)My Profile