Friday, November 22, 2013

Sauerruben! Self-Fermenting Pickled Turnips

When I got Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation almost two years ago (Christ, in the midst of finishing the diss) I got inspired by the sauerruben recipe, which is a sauerkraut style self-fermentation of turnips. I followed the recipe, which called for too much salt for my taste, and shredding the turnips (5 lb or so). I didn't realize how much carbon dioxide they were going to put off in the first day, and as you see below, one of the jars got so over-pressurized it dented the lid out. And in the end, a couple of weeks later the stuff was too salty (3 Tbsp salt / 5lb turnips) and too stringy/hashy to enjoy. It looks beautiful, with that pink color being a dilution of the purple top of the turnip. But really not much fun to eat.
I revisited this recipe after getting a bunch of turnips a few weeks back during a mammoth pickling session, and decided to go with roughly 1/2" x 1 1/2" chunks of turnip, and bought an awesome little ceramic crock to brine them in. Ceramic crock is pretty hardcore. It does for me what Chewbacca does for Han Solo: It keeps it real; it doesn't promise anything it can't deliver; and if I'm being a dumbass it will let me know but still backs me up. It is literally and figuratively solid.

I had maybe 3 lb of turnips, and decided to use about half the salt since it's less necessary in colder weather. I think it was 2 tsp or 1 Tbsp of Morton's canning/pickling salt. I coated the chunks in this and then packed them in the crock, weighing them down with a clean plate and a clean growler full of water. Then I wrapped the top with clingwrap to keep crap and flies from getting into it. After 2 days the slat had drawn out enough water to make a brine that covered (and protected) the turnips. Then I just let it go, checking a couple of times along the way and stirring it up so everything got a good brine soak. I pulled them out tonight and let them continue fermenting in jars so I could use the crock for sauerkraut tomorrow. The big shot glass on the right has the remainder of the brine, turned a beautiful pale pink. This tastes delicious, and if I can save any of the brine, I would make a dirty vodka martini with this. Maybe strong, but definitely a Russian reverberation.
Sauerruben rocks.

No comments:

Post a Comment