Lacto-Fermented Turnips

We first learned the art of preserving food by lacto-fermentation at Adamah, the Jewish farm in Connecticut whose slogan is “Young Jewish Farmers changing the world one pickle at a time.”  Since then, we’ve continued to make forays into the world of pickling, much assisted by Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, which we heartily recommend if you’re looking to start experimenting.

The idea behind lacto-fermentation is that you create an environment (a salty brine) where lacto-bacili can thrive. These tiny micro-organisms are the very same ones that bring us yogurt; as in yogurt, lacto-fermented vegetables undergo a transformation process where the bacteria actually help to make them easier for us to digest (and delicious).

(Photo by Wardeh Harmon)

Turnips & Beets
These pickled turnips take about 3 days to make on your counter top, largely unattended to once you get everything chopped up.  Serve alongside sweet BBQ ribs, or layered on burgers for a crunchy, salty, satisfying bite.

1-2 turnips
1 beet
1 small onion
1 tablespoon sea salt

Peel, quarter, and thinly slice the turnips, beet and onion.  Combine in a large bowl.  Add salt and mix well.  Transfer vegetables to a wide-mouth 1 quart mason jar — vegetables should come up to 1″ from the top.  Add water to fill the jar.

Screw lid on tightly and set on your counter.  Pickles should be at room temperature (around 70 degrees).  They will ferment in about 2-3 days (you can taste them after 2 days, if they still taste like raw turnips, let them go another day or two).

Open the jar 1x day to release some of the fiz (open slowly, as the brine may bubble up to the top).

If any of the turnips on the top layer are dark or slightly molding, just scoop off the top layer.

The juice is delicious, too! It’s very healthy (full of live-cultures that are good for your gut). It makes a great dirty martini too.

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