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Pink Pickled Turnips

This is a traditional Middle Eastern pickle and a really beautiful way to transform turnips into a vibrant and delicious crunchy addition to a mezze meal, salad bowl, sandwich wrap, or as a nibble alongside olives and cornichons. This is Lydia’s mothers recipe that her father loved so much that he ate the turnips straight from the jar.

The turnips can be prepared as batons, cubes or wedges and it is the beetroot which gives them a stunning pink colour. For a punchier flavour, you can add a few slices of garlic, and a small red chilli to the jars along with the bay leaves.

Once pickled the turnips will only stay crunchy for a few weeks, so don’t be tempted to make more than you can realistically eat! However, they are extremely addictive, so make this regularly for a constant supply of delicious pink crunch.

Pink Pickled Turnips

Makes 1 kg jar or 2 x 500g jars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • 500g small turnips
  • ½ small beetroot
  • 350ml water
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns


  1. To sterilise the jars place clean washed jars onto a tray in a preheated oven at 130° for 20 minutes. Switch the oven off and leave the jars inside until needed.
  2. Peel the turnips and cut each into 8 wedges. Peel the beetroot and slice. Set aside.
  3. Place the water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to ensure the salt and sugar are both dissolved.
  4. Remove the warm jars from the oven and carefully pack with the turnips and beetroot.
  5. Add a bay leaf and some peppercorns to each jar.
  6. Pour the hot pickling solution over the turnips, making sure to push them down so they are fully submerged. You can top up the jars with more cold vinegar if necessary.
  7. Seal the jars and leave to cool for up to a day, then place in the fridge. They are ready to eat after a day or two of maturing but once opened consume within 2 weeks.
  8. They will store for longer but the turnips will lose their crunch and become soft.

Note: if you find that the turnips want to rise up to the surface of the liquid, it’s worth sterilising a small ramekin that will fit the mouth of the jar to weigh down the vegetables and keep them submerged in the pickling solution.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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