Fermenting turnips is easy and quick! The fermenting process turns the turnips into a probiotic food that is both delicious and very healthy. This is a great way to preserve turnips! Let me show you how to make fermented turnips…
Confession time… I hate turnips.
Ok, I don’t hate, HATE turnips but I just don’t like them much. I never grow them in the garden, my kids won’t eat them and I don’t like them raw (I know some people that will eat them like an apple…).
I’ve never tried cooking them… Do you cook them? I don’t even know…
So why do I write about fermented turnips you ask?
Let me tell you…
You know how some homesteaders can’t help themselves in the spring when they enter Tractor Supply and come face to face with a bunch of chirping, fuzzy, baby chickens?
They end up going home with 10 chicks that they have no clue where they are going to house… You know those homesteaders? Maybe you are one of them…?
I am not. I don’t impulse buy animals.
I impulse buy plants. Mainly vegetable plants and seeds… And also vegetables… I have a thing with vegetables.
So a few weeks ago when I came face to face with a free bag of firm, round, white/purple, delicious-looking (even though I know that I don’t like them) turnips, I couldn’t leave it behind.
I had to take the bag home and, as always, I thought to myself that if I don’t eat them the goats and the chickens will eat them and then they’ll poop their glorious poop which will feed the tomatoes that I do really really really like to eat.
Anyway I looked at it as a win-win.
So then I got home and couldn’t bring myself to feed the delicious-looking turnips to the goats… I wanted to find something to do with them that would make me like turnips.
Now, I already checked out this movie from the library a few months ago… Back then, the star of the show was radish.
Same story… I don’t like radishes but I ended up with a huge crate of them. I decided on fermenting some of the radishes and discovered that I really really liked them lacto-fermented.
So I figured I’d do the same with the turnips and ferment them. Oh my! I might not like turnips but I do indeed like fermented turnips!
Fermenting turnips is easy and quick and the fermenting process gives them much more flavor. You can season them however you want and make them a bit different each time.
They stay firm but they are salty and a little spicy. They are a great snack and a healthy one too because of all the added good bacteria that is forming due to the fermenting process.
So in this post, I really want to show you how to ferment turnips. But before we start with the tutorial, let’s go through the basics in case you are new to the whole fermentation thingy…
What is Fermentation?
“The process of using microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under anaerobic conditions.”
Read more in depth about fermentation on the Dr. Axe website here.
There are a couple of types of fermentation…
Alcoholic fermentation is when we use yeast to break down sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. This is the process we use to make beer, wine, and bread.
Lacto fermentation is the process of using bacteria, named Lactobacillus, to convert sugars into lactic acid. This bacteria (some form of it) is actually present in our digestive system naturally and is also present on the surface of plants.
Lactic acid is a preservative that helps us preserve foods by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Lacto fermentation, which is the process we are going to use to preserve our turnips, also increases the vitamin and enzyme level of the vegetables we ferment.
Adding fermented foods to our diet can help us introduce additional probiotics, or in other words, beneficial bacteria to our digestive system in a natural way.
Beneficial bacteria help us digest food, help us support a healthy metabolism and an overall well functioning and healthy digestive system which we all know is super important for our overall health and strength
So let’s recap… We take a vegetable (cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, even tomatoes…) we let it sit in a solution and steep for a few days, the sugars in the vegetable break down and start promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Lactic acid is formed and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria which makes it possible for us to preserve what’s in the jar (in cold storage).
With fermented food, we get to add beneficial bacteria to our gut and are able to keep the food for a longer period!
That’s like riding two horses with one behind! Absolutely incredible.
Tools That We Are Going To Need…
Ok, now let’s see what we are going to need to put this goodness together…
Cutting board – I always work on my wooden cutting board.
Vegetable peeler – to peel the turnips.
Knife – to cut the turnips.
Wide mouth quart jar – I think that quart jars with a wide mouth are the best size to use here but of course you can use any jar size that you want.
Wide mouth lids and bands – to close the jar. I just use the regular lids and bands but there are many fancy fermentation lids too on Amazon if you feel like trying them that’s fine.
2 cup measuring cup – I use this to make my brine.
Fermentation weights – do do do do me a favor and buy proper fermentation lids, please. They are a small investment that will make your life oh so much easier.
You can find online all kinds of homemade fermentation weight ideas like using rocks and apples and whatever else but I strongly suggest that you purchase fermentation weights.
All those other ideas work… Sometime. Sometimes they don’t and you lose your food which is never a good thing.
All right let’s ferment turnips!
Preparing The Turnips For Fermentation…
Look at these beautiful turnips! Do you understand why I couldn’t leave them behind?
To fill a quart size jar I ended up using 5 medium turnips…
I washed them and cut the top and bottom…
Then, I used the vegetable peeler to peel them.
Next, I sliced each turnip into 1 centimeter thick slices…
And then I cut each slice. Kinda like you cut potatoes to make french fries.
You can cut the turnips however you want just make sure the pieces are not too thin and small or they will get soft in the brine pretty quickly.
One of the best things that I like about fermenting is that the vegetables stay firm and “fresh”.
Packing The Jar…
All right, now I wash a wide mouth quart jar with warm water and soap…
And pack it halfway with the turnips. Then. I add my seasonings…
I went with 1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, and 2 crushed (not peeled) garlic cloves.
You can add whatever seasonings you want. You can try the pickling mix or peppercorns. You can add dill or bay leaves. You can add dry hot or mild peppers… There are so many options and you can play with it and try something different every time.
Once I’m done adding my spices I fill the jar with the rest of the turnips making sure to leave about an inch of headspace.
Adding The Brine…
To make the brine, I add two cups of water to a two-cup measuring cup and add 2 teaspoons of kosher, sea, or pickling salt (non-iodized salt).
I used a ratio of one teaspoon salt for every cup of water here. If you like a more salty brine you can do three teaspoons of salt per two cups of water.
Another note here, if you like the taste of vinegar, feel free to add a tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of water.
I add the brine to the jar until it covers the turnips…
And then I place the fermentation weight on top of the vegetables. It’s very important that all of the vegetables are under the brine.
All that is left to do is close the jar and set it aside to ferment. I usually leave it on the kitchen counter. We want to keep it at room temperature.
For a quart jar, it takes about 7 days to ferment. After a couple of days you’ll notice some bubbles forming at the top of the jar and the brine will start to look cloudy. That’s great!
Remember that if you are not using a special lid for fermentation you will have to “burp” the jar, meaning once a day you’ll need to open the jar and let the gas that is forming in there escape. You close the jar right back after a few seconds.
How to Store Fermented Turnips…
After about 7 days, the brine will clear again. It won’t be as clear as it was when you added it to the jar but it will be clearer than what it was during the fermentation process.
The turnips get a hint of yellow color to them but they don’t change their color too much.
Once the fermentation process is done you can store your jar in cold storage. If you have a root caller that’s great, if not, store your jar in the fridge.
You can leave it at room temperature for a couple of weeks but I find that after that the vegetables start to soften and I personally don’t like it.
The turnips need to stay under the brine while the jar is in storage so keep the weight there for as long as it’s needed.
Serving Fermented Turnips…
We eat fermented turnips as a healthy snack or as a side to a sandwich.
They are a great solution for those moments that you feel like eating something but not sure what. Instead of reaching for a cookie, reach for a little bowl of fermented turnips.
However you use them, make sure to use a clean fork or spoon every time that you grab turnips from the jar so the brine stays clean.
So next time that you come across turnips, give fermented turnips a try.
If you grow turnips in your garden, fermenting turnips is a great way to use your harvest and preserve it.
It really only takes minutes to put a jar together and it’s just another delicious and healthy snack!
If you liked this post, make sure to check these as well…
- 5 medium turnips
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed but not peeled)
- 1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon salt + 2 cups water (to make the brine)
- Wash your turnips. Cut the top and the bottom.
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
- Slice your turnips to slices that are 1 centimeter thick. Then cut each slice into a few pieces (kinda like french fries).
- Pack a quart jar with wide mouth half way with the turnips.
- Add the garlic, chili flakes, and mustard seeds.
- Fill the jar the rest of the way with the turnips leaving one-inch headspace.
- Make the brine by adding a teaspoon of non-iodized salt (sea, kosher, or pickling salt) to a cup of water. Add to the jar. Repeat until the water cover the turnips.
- Place a fermentation weight on top of the turnips. Make sure that all of the turnips are under the brine.
- Cover and close the jar. Leave it at room temperature to ferment for about 7 days. Remember that if you are not using a special fermentation lid you will have to "burp" the jar once a day. This means that you have to open the jar for a few seconds each day to let the gas out. Then close it again.
During the fermentation process you will notice bubbles form at the top of the jar and some of the brine might spill out. The brine will also become cloudy. This is normal.
- When the fermentation process is done the brine will clear again. You can then store your jar in cold storage (in the fridge or root cellar). Make sure to use a clean fork every time that you take turnips out of the jar. Also, make sure that the turnips stay under the brine while it's in storage.
I used a ratio of one teaspoon salt for every cup of water here. If you like a more salty brine you do 1.5 teaspoons of salt per cup of water.
If you like the taste of vinegar, feel free to add a tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of water.
Lastly, feel free to change the seasonings as you wish.
You can try pickling mix or peppercorns. You can add dill or bay leaves. You can add dry hot or mild peppers... There are so many options and you can play with it and try something different every time.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 quart jar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4346mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 12gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g