Lebanese Pickled Turnips

You know those delightful little pink pickles you find garnishing your hummus at your favorite Persian or Middle Eastern restaurant? These are those. A few minutes to prepare and a few days later…CRUNCH, a salty, sour, cheerful pink pickle with a mild radishy bite.  Who knew a lowly turnip could taste so good?

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Lebanese Pickled Turnips
Recipe type: Pickle
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 quart jar
  • 1 lb. turnips (about 5 or 6 golf ball sized)
  • 1 small beet
  • 4 - 5 sprigs celery leaf, or ½ t celery seed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 - 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  1. Peel turnips and beet. Slice into ⅛th inch half-moons.
  2. Pack the turnips, beets, garlic and celery, into a sanitized quart jar layering the ingredients.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the water, vinegar, salt in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot brine over the veggies completely covering them.
  4. Set aside to cool, then label, date and refrigerate. Wait 3– 5 days before eating. They will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Preserve it:

This is not a canning recipe, meaning you cannot hot-water-bath can these pickles safely.  This recipe is not tested for that.  These pickles are refrigerator pickles only and will keep in the fridge a good long while.  Since turnips are available nearly the whole growing season in the Midwest—right up through November—and store so well in the fridge, there seems no reason to bother canning them when you can make a fresh batch so quickly. But if you really want to have a “puting up” pickle, let me know.  I’m sure I can get you one.

 Cooking with Kids: 

Don’t underestimate your child’s love of sour.  Think of all of the sour candies on the market.  I have also witness arguments between kids over who will get to suck on the left-over lemon rind. I can get my kids to gobble up any veggie as long as it comes pickled.
Pickles make the ultimate sour taste experience and making pickles is like experiencing a bit of magic.  The taste transformation accomplished with just a few ingredients and a bit of time is likely to spark the imagination of any kid.  Have your little ones cut the celery with scissors or measure the spices and liquids.  Taste the raw turnips before pickling for a great opportunity to compare the before and after flavors.