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Local white turnips and beet. Photo by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Hello My Name Is… Turnip

By She Who Must Be Obeyed on August 20, 2016

Ottawa folk sure do like their Lebanese food. Nothing satisfies a late-night craving like a shawarma.

We regularly make a bastardized version of shawarma when we’re going on a picnic or when it’s just too darn hot and humid to cook. We pick up a rotisserie chicken, hummus, and pita bread. We chop tomatoes, lettuce and sweet and hot peppers. Then we head outside with plastic plates and lemonade.

Each person builds their own “shawarma.” Ingredients and proportions vary by individual but everyone piles these rosy pickles high on their dish. Many shawarma lovers think they’re eating pickled beets but in fact the beets are mainly used as a colouring agent. The real pickles are the turnips.

I make Lebanese pickles regularly because they are the only way my kids will eat turnips. Why am I hell bent on getting my kids to eat turnips? Because they turn-up (get it?) pretty much every week in my CSA basket.

Lebanese pickled turnips. In a few hours, the brine will be deep pink. Photo by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Lebanese pickled turnips. In a few hours, the brine will be deep pink. Photo by She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Lebanese Pickled Turnips

  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/3 cup Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 2 lbs White Turnips
  • 1 Beet

In a saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups water with the salt and bay leaves until the salt dissolves. Allow to cool. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups water and the vinegar.

Wash the turnips and beets and cut off the root and stem ends. Dirt is your enemy so ensure you cut off a good slice of the stem end. Peel the vegetables and cut them into thick, french-fry sized sticks.

Stuff the turnips into jars (size of your choice). Remove the bay leaves from the brine and add them to the jars. Add a few pieces of beet into each jar. Pour brine over.

Let sit on the counter for several hours, then refrigerate. Keep at least 3 days before eating. These pickled turnips will keep about 3 weeks in the fridge.

She Who Must be Obeyed blogs about budget adventures at travellargefamily.com. Recently returned from Chicago, she’s now turning her attention to an upcoming road trip to Orlando.