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Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip – Turşu

We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. Known also as Torshi, derived from Persian torsh ‘sour’, pickled vegetables are much loved in the Middle East and Balkans, as well as in Turkey.

There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries,  grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu  aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir.

Pickling is an ancient food preservation technique; research suggests that pickled vegetables contain beneficial bacteria, that support our gut health and over all wellbeing too.

Tips: Use glass jars for pickling and sterilize before using. Only use rock salt and make sure your vegetables are firm (for cucumbers, smaller varieties are better). Use one type of vegetable in the jar or group them with similar texture, such as peppers, cucumbers and beetroots/carrots/turnips in separate jars, as their fermentation timing differs, for instance pickled cucumbers get ready earlier than the pickled beets.

I recently enjoyed my turşu with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir, hummus and some borek aside, it was a delicious lunch.  Kisir, variety of boreks, hummus recipes are at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can get a hardback copy at this link – now 20 % off – There are now reduced rates of delivery to the US, Canada and Mexico at this link too.

Ideal temperature to keep the pickled jars is about 17-20C, at a dark place. Pickled cucumbers get ready in 3 weeks, pickled beetroots, turnips and carrots in 4 weeks. Please do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar. Once the pickles are ready and jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip - Turşu
 
We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses.
Author:
Recipe type: Pickles, Tursu
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Ingredients
  • For pickling cucumbers:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 485g/1lb 1oz firm, small cucumbers, washed, dried and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
  • For pickling beetroot, turnip and carrots:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 230g/8oz beetroot, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 140g/5oz turnip, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 110g/4oz carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
Instructions
  1. First sterilize your glass jars. Wash your jars and the lids in hot soapy water, but do not dry them. Instead, leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray, while they're still wet. Pop the tray of clean, wet jars and lids (removing all the plastic parts), in to a preheated oven at 160ºC for about 15 minutes. Then let them cool down.
  2. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of the jar. Then add the coarsely sliced cucumbers, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  3. If you are pickling beets, carrots and turnips, follow the same procedure. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of a separate jar. Then add the coarsely sliced beets carrots and turnips, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  4. Combine the 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt in a jug. Stir and dissolve the salt completely. Pour the mixture into the pickled cucumber jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 3 weeks, in the case of pickled cucumbers. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  5. For pickling beetroots, turnip and carrots in a separate glass jar, follow the same procedure and prepare the same pickling solution with 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt, combined and fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into the pickled beets, carrots and turnip jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 4 weeks, in the case of pickled beets, carrots and turnips. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  6. Once pickles, tursu ready, open the jar and enjoy your turşu, pickles, as part of mezze, with salads, with savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. Once the jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge, covered. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.
 

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