I don’t know much about lacto-fermentation or probiotics generally, except that they’re supposed to be good for you. What I did know is that I had some little turnip things (not exactly sure what they were) that had been sitting in my crisper for months, hanging over from our winter CSA. I can see why we grow these humble guys though – after much neglect, they were still as firm as when I got them.
Inspired by this post, I thought to try my hand at lacto-fermented turnips. The recipe is for radishes, but I reasoned that turnips are a similar vegetable and substituted them. You just need salt, water, and the veggies – no boiling, no canning – it really is so easy.
Some pickle recipes ask you to cut the veggies evenly using a mandoline, but I ignored these directions, and asked my favourite 5 year old slicer to do his best with the turnips. He peeled and sliced away, working steadily and with concentration, until they were all done. The pieces were not uniform, but I am here to declare that they were perfect all the same.
We dipped into the first jar after 48 hours (we let the other sit for 72 hours – unlike pickles canned in vinegar, lacto-fermented foods are alive, and will change with time). I don’t know what to say except that they were completely delicious. Like we ate the entire jar and then wanted some more delicious. I learned later that the salty brine is healthy enough to drink, which is a good thing, because I kept taking slugs of it on the sly. The universe is on your side when something so yummy is good for you!
The kids totally loved it, too. Both jars were good, but I liked the crispness of the first jar a little better. Or you could leave it for a couple of weeks and see, but I don’t see how we could ever wait that long.
There are some tired old turnips still in my fridge, and I may just try lacto-fermenting them too. They represent a challenge to any culinary endeavour, but if there’s anything that can rescue them now, lacto-fermenting them into pickles must be it.