A Middle Eastern style turnip pickles that is healthy, easy, delicious and fun to make at home.
I like pickles.
And who doesn’t?!?!
If you are a pickle lover, then you will like making it at home too. It’s easy and fun to try making your own favorite pickles.
Pickling is one way to preserve the seasonal vegetables and enjoy them all seasons, usually brine is used to marinate and store the vegetables with added salt to produce acidic solution.
In middle east there is a wide variety of pickles, all made from many vegetables. Some of the vegetables that used to pickle is olives, cucumber, turnip, beets, cauliflower, pepper, lemon, cabbage, eggplant….
Middle eastern style pickles is commonly used as a side dish accompanied by many different food and main dishes, it’s an essential part of the Mezze table, and highly liked specially during Ramadan. The preparation of pickles starts a week before Ramadan starts, so it will be ready on time.
Is pickles healthy? Pickles are also a healthy snack. They are low in fat, calories and sugar. They are a good source of fiber that aid in digestion. Pickles also contain valued nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron and antioxidants.
Pickling Methods and ingredients: Many get creative with the methods and ingredients in making pickles. Brine may be simple that only contain water and salt with the addition of sugar to enhance the fermentation process like when pickling cucumber, carrots, and turnip. For any recipe using water and salt brine, I usually use 1 tablespoon salt for every one cup of water. Acidic solution, usually vinegar, are also used to marinate and store the vegetables like pickled cabbage (the recipe coming soon). Another middle eastern well known brine is using olive oil like Makdoos pickles (the recipe coming next).
Spices, salt, herbs and many other ingredients are used in making pickles and it gives a special taste to the vegetables.
Here are some tips when making pickles
- Always choose fresh vegetables, it makes a big difference.
- Use canning or pickling salt (not iodized table salt!). Pickling salt has no additives. Iodized salt have anticaking agent that makes the brine cloudy also the iodine contents may change the color and texture of the vegetables as well as possibly leave sediment at the bottom of the jars.
- Use commercial white vinegar with at least 5% acidity. While cider and malt vinegar can add flavor subtleties, they also darken light-colored vegetables.
- Use only soft water (water with low levels of minerals and chlorine). Hard water (water with high mineral levels) can lower brine acidity, possibly affecting food safety.
To soften hard water, boil for 15 minutes, then allow it to stand covered for 24 hours. Remove any surface scum that forms. Carefully ladle the water from the pot without agitating the bottom sediment.
- Use stainless-steel, glass, or ceramic bowls. Avoid containers and utensils made of copper, iron, zinc, or brass (these materials may react with acid and salt).
- Make sure all jars are sterilized before you pickle in them. Bacteria can ruin a whole batch and even make you sick.
- To allow pickles to mellow, wait at least 1-2 weeks before using.
Turnip pickles is one of my most liked pickles. It has a distinctive flavor, with it’s pretty pink color that comes from using beets with turnip. It’s usually liked with Falafel and Shawarma sandwiches which adds a nice tangy flavor to the sandwich, also it may be decorated on top of Humus and Labni (yogurt cheese) dishes.
- 3 medium-sized turnip
- 1 medium size beetroot
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoon course pickling salt
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 cups water
1- Bring the water to a boil, cool, then add vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir till they dissolve.
2- Wash turnips well, peel, slice off top and base. Cut turnips and beetroot into slices.
3- Place turnip and beets between them as layers in sterilized jars. Add water with the vinegar over till it covers them. Seal with some olive oil on the top.
4- Close jars well, leave for 20 days before use.