Everyone knows sauerkraut, the quintessential pickled cabbage that covers hot dogs in the summertime. I love a good batch of kraut, but when it comes to a fermentation project that makes my mouth water endlessly, sauerruben – pickled turnips – are my go-to for simple, easy deliciousness. Even better, since flavorful root vegetables like turnips (and beets and parsnips) have fallen out of favor, they usually sell for almost nothing at my local international market.
Since purchasing a spiralizer (aff), the task of making sauerruben has gotten even easier. A once daunting chopping or grating project is now a simple spin-the-handle job, which means that something I once made occasionally I now keep on hand all the time.
Chopping aside, sauerruben couldn’t be simpler. Chop (or grate, or spiralize), salt, let it rest for a while to weep, then pack it into a jar. I’m not especially picky about salt amounts, so I usually don’t weigh it out for dry-salted ferments like kraut or sauerruben. I just spiralize a turnip, put it in a bowl, and throw on a generous pinch or two of salt, then mix it around.
As I work through the turnips, the lower layers of shreds in the bowl become softer and start producing liquid. As more is added, more mixing happens. Eventually I run a knife through the bowl to cut the turnip noodles down to a workable size for mashing into a jar.
At the end of the process, there’s a jar of shredded turnips with enough liquid to cover themselves, though a weight is required to keep them submerged early on. I use glass fermentation weights (aff), which have kind of revolutionized my whole fermentation practice, but I’ve used a lot of things over the years, including shot glasses and bags of brine.
Then it’s just a waiting game until the sauerruben is ready!