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Pickled Turnips

Cuisine: Central European (among others)

In Germany Pickled Turnips are called Sauerruben, in Slovenia they are called Kisla Repa, in Russia they are called Marinovannaya Repa, in other countries or regions they go by different names. It is a popular side dish or recipe ingredient in many countries and regions where the winter cold can be really felt. It can also be a refreshing side dish when served chilled in the heat of the summer.

Fermentation time: 5 to 7 days
You will need: a mixing bowl and clean jars with lids.


  • 1 Kg (2 Lbs) turnips, ends trimmed, peeled and shredded.
  • 1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp of salt.
    • The rough proportion is 2 Tbsp of pickling salt for every 1+1/2 Kg (3 Lbs) of vegetables.
  • Optional: whatever spice you may feel like using.
  • For the brine : 2 Tbsp of salt per 1 litre of water.


  1. Trim the ends of your turnips, peel them and slice them lengthwise, to a quarter of the vegetable’s thickness. The idea is that you cut your turnips as thin as French fries but half the length of French fries.
  2. Put the turnips in a mixing bowl and add salt together the spice(s) you may want to add.
  3. Scoop the turnips from the bowl and pack them relatively tight (but not too tight) in your jars. The idea is that you want the brine to reach everywhere in the jar. Make sure you leave enough room between the top layer of your turnips and the lid, ideally about 4 cm or 1.5 in.
  4. Wait a little. You will see juices coming out of the turnips.
  5. Add the brine and gently press the vegetables a little more down the jar. The idea is that you want the vegetables submerged in the brine.
  6. Add more brine, almost to the brim of the jar.
  7. Close the jar with the lid, but not tightly: fermentation creates gases and you need them to escape.
  8. Store the jars in a dark place with temperature ranging between 21C to 24C (70F-80F) and wait for about 5 days. Lower storage temperatures will delay the fermentation process. E.g. storing at 16C (60F) will add 2 more days to the fermentation process. You can ferment your turnips even longer if you wish – there is no harm there.
  9. During the fermentation process you will notice tiny bubbles on the top of the liquid. This is normal. When the bubbling stops, the fermentation process is over.
  10. After the fermentation process is over you can tighten the lids and store them in your fridge. You can keep your fully fermented Pickled Turnips in the refrigerator for several months. (See Notes below.)

Notes on Pickled Turnips

  • You can also add other vegetables in the mix, such as carrots.
  • The water you will use for the brine should be de-chlorinated. You can do this by filling a pot of water and leaving it without a lid on the counter or stove for 24 hours; or you can boil the water and then let it completely cool off to room temperature; or you can use water from the tap filtered by any active charcoal filter you may be using.
  • The quality of salt is important. Do use sea salt, Kosher salt or pickling salt.
  • Use firm and fresh turnips of any variety – rutabaga included.
  • Caution: if your pickled turnips become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable smell then do discard them.

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