It would appear--in my case, at least--that pickling is an inevitable side effect of vegetable gardening. I've posted previously about red mustard kimchi and award-winning spicy dilly beans. Today's post is all about Middle Eastern-style pickled turnips, lift. Sweet and slightly spicy Japanese baby turnips are one of my favorite spring vegetables because they're just as speedy as radishes and they make delicious pickles. They're the perfect accompaniment to a meal or a tasty snack all on their own.
This recipe is a fermented pickle that's stored in the refrigerator. No canning is required. I sterilize the jar and lid by pouring boiling water over them just before filling the jar.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of kosher or sea salt in 1/2 cup of boiling water, then cool the water down with enough ice and cold water to make 1 and 1/2 cups. Add 1/2 cup of white or flavored vinegar (apple cider vinegar is nice) for a total of 2 cups of brine.
Remove the green tops (save them for dinner...maybe make pesto?) from 1 pound of baby turnips and give the turnips a good scrub. There was no need to peel these homegrown beauties. Cut them into slivers.
For bright pink pickles, cut a small beet in the same manner; you can skip this step for white pickles. Then, to a clean quart-sized jar, add one peeled garlic clove, one bay leaf, and the slivers of [beet and] turnips. You may also add a spoonful of pickling spices or a hot chile (fresh or dried), according to your taste. I chose not to add any additional seasonings this time. Pour in enough prepared brine to submerge the veggies; you might not need all of it. Tap the jar to dislodge any air bubbles, then cover with a lid.
The brine began pulling color from the beets almost immediately. I started these pickles on Saturday. By Tuesday, they looked like this:
I tend to give pickles a taste after 3 days. The speed of fermentation depends mostly on room temperature. The longer you let the fermentation go, the softer and more sour-tasting your pickles will become. Once they taste like you want them, move them to the fridge for storage. Fermentation will continue, but at a much slower pace, so eat them within a month (hardly a challenge in my house).