Arabic and Middle Eastern food is famous for its wide selection of appetizers, what we refer to as “Mazzes. Pickles are a major corner stone of our mazze tables. There are various kinds of pickles that are very popular in our region including pickled turnips. In Arabic, Pickled Turnips are called “Mukhalal Lift” or “Kabees Lift”, “Lift” is the Arabic word for turnips.
Turnips are very beneficial as they are part of the vegetable family that help fight several types of cancer, especially lung and colon cancers (hopefully none of us will experience any of these illness).
Pickled Turnips have a very sharp taste that distinguishes it from the other varieties of pickles. You either love this sharp taste or hate it! Our household is divided on pickled turnips!! My husband and eldest daughter LOVE IT, while my younger daughter and I, don’t care for it that much - we prefer pickled cucumbers, pickled cauliflowers and carrots.
In the Middle East, our method for pickling turnips is quite different that the method used in the West. First, we chop our turnips and don’t rind them, then there is the lovely pick color of our pickled turnips. The pink color is a must! Some use food color dyes for the pink color, but I prefer to color my turnip the traditional, natural way using beets.
I normally pickle 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), and this is enough for about two to three weeks…. Once you start nibbling pickled turnips, there is no stopping!! If you want to pickle a smaller portion you can always half the recipe.
Note: when pickling remember that every half kilogram of turnips will fill a 1-liter (34 ounces) glass jar. So for pickling 2 kilograms we need jar capacity of 4 liters (135 ounces); and if we are pickling 1 kilogram (202 pounds) we need jar capacity of 2 liters (68 ounces).
Pickled Turnips Recipe
Preparation time: 15 min
2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), turnips
3 medium-sized beets, or 4 small beets
1/2 cup coarse salt
61/3 cups water
2/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3-4 cloves garlic
3-4 grape leaves
4-liter capacity glass jar(s)
How to make pickled turnips:
- Sterilize glass jar(s) by pouring in them boiling water. Leave the water for 5 minutes before pouring it out. Set jar aside - do not use any towel to dry!
- In a deep bowl, put salt and add to it 1 and 1/3 cup boiling water. Mix well until all the salt dissolves. Then add 5 cups cold water, sugar, white vinegar, and mix well. Leave the mixture aside to cool while you chop the turnips.
- Wash turnips and beets rubbing their skin well to remove any debris. Using a knife, cut the top and bottom side of the turnips and any uneven parts on the outer skin. I personally don’t see a need to peel the whole skin, but some people prefer to do that.
- Chop turnips and beets taking care to not to chop them too thick or very thin.
- Peel the garlic cloves.
- Arrange the turnips and beets in the glass jars together with the 4 garlic cloves. Make sure to have the beets and garlic spread throughout. Press down the turnips and beets well – I like using the bottom of a cup for that.
- Pour the brine (water with salt & vinegar) in the jar over the turnips.
- Cover with the grape leaves. I like to use grape leaves as I think they adds a nice hint of flavor of pickles, plus they form a protective layer insulating the turnips.
- Seal the jar and set aside for about 3 weeks after which your pickled turnips are ready for consumption. With the end of the first week you will notice that the water will acquire a nice red color.
Pickled Turnips Middle Eastern Style!
Hope you enjoyed today’s easy recipe: Pickled Turnips, a traditional Middle Eastern appetizer. Bon appetite.
Do you like pickles? Which kind do you prefer the most?
اضغط الرابط للحصول على وصفة مخلل اللفت - كبيس اللفت باللغة العربية