This summer, my boyfriend decided to grow turnips in his home garden.
Yes, turnips. He also grew loads of tomatoes–many of them were heirloom varieties, including my favorites the Cherokee Purple and the Green Zebra–so I forgave him for what I felt was a gardening transgression.
His venture was an interesting experiment until harvest time, when he had an overabundance of turnips to deal with. I have never cooked with turnips, so I had no idea what to do with them. Our attempts to steam them were just okay (frankly, they were a bit on the blah and boring side).
As I was trying to figure out what to do with these not-so-little root vegetables, I remembered that my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant served pickled turnips as a sandwich topping. So, I decided to turn to the internet and find an easy pickled turnip recipe.
I was rewarded for this endeavor by not only finding an easy pickled turnips recipe, but discovering a previously-unknown-to-me food writer: David Lebovitz. I’ve been reading his blog ever since, between bouts of eating my freshly made pickled turnips, and being completely envious of his life living as an American expat in Paris.
Now that I know how easy making pickled turnips (and beets!) is, I know I will making more with my available turnip supply. And, it reminds me that turnips do not have to be boring… so I will be doing some more turnip experiments in my tiny kitchen this winter.
Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz’s Pickled Turnips recipe (because I love beets)
3 c. water
1/3 c. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 c. distilled white vinegar
2 lbs. turnips, peeled and cut into spears
1 large beet (or 2 medium beets), peeled and cut into spears
3 cloves garlic, peeled sliced
In a saucepan, heat about half the water and add the salt and bay leaf, stirring until salt dissolves. Turn off heat and let liquid cool to room temperature. When the liquid has cooled, add the vinegar and remaining water. Put the turnips, beets, and garlic into a jar with a lid or a lidded glass storage container. Pour the liquid over the vegetables, cover and store at room temperature for one week. After one week, move the container to the refrigerator until ready to serve.