Poor turnip. Sort of a wallflower, this drab white vegetable is easily overlooked at the market. The taste is a bit bland. Even the name phonetically sounds unappealing.
My first attempt to warm up, rather than give up on turnips was making Indian Inspired Turnips with Kidney Beans dish. This is a very tasty and unusual recipe, but not one I made on a regular basis.
As time went by, I didn’t give much thought to the turnip until I tried these:
Lebanese Pickled Turnips
And my take on turnips changed forever.
My friend Lisa brought a batch of pickled turnips to a party. Of Syrian descent, Lisa recalls her grandma and her great-grandma making pickled turnips similar to these when she was a child.
I, still not having a clue what I was nibbling, kept taking a few more. I simply could not get enough of these “whatever-the-heck-they-are”. I guess my friend could tell that I was quite fond of the pickled turnips, and to my delight she brought me a full container the next day!
What once seemed a forgettable, not so interesting vegetable, has now transformed into a curiously addicting, stand-apart-from-the-crowd favorite of mine! The plain white color takes on a gorgeous magenta with the help of a few beets thrown in. The once bland flavor is replaced with a quite assertive tang, prominently of vinegar and garlic.
With turnips and its other root vegetable cousins now in season, this is the perfect time to pick up a few pounds and start preserving these little lovelies into something special!
Oh, and before you go, if you happen to live in the Lou, be sure to check out St. Raymond's Lebanese Festival this weekend (September 20-21). Admission is free and will feature live music, authentic Lebanese foods and lots of events for the kids. For more info: http://straymondsmaronitecathedral.com/LebaneseFestival.php
Lebanese Pickled Turnips, Kabees Al Lift (recipe from St. Raymond's Maronite Catholic Church cookbook, "Lebanon and its Cuisine")
½ quart water
1 quart white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup salt
3 pounds turnips, quartered
3 beets, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic
Bring water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil, then cool.
Place turnips, beets and garlic in a big sterilized jar. Pour the cooled vinegar mixture over turnips, seal jar.
Wait 5 days to enjoy!
Note: these pickled turnips will keep in the refrigerator for about a month or two (but I betcha that they’ll be gone way before then)