Despite the popularity of cucumber pickles in both Iraq and the Arab world in general, this vivid colored turnip-beetroot pickle is a firm staple and favorite in any Iraqi household.
Using pure, wholesome ingredients, without the adulteration of processed additives is the essence of Iraqi cooking.And what better than God’s own creation? The beautiful magenta color from the beetroot dying the turnips is an all-natural delight that’s almost hard to believe.
These pickles are delicious as an accompaniment to almost anything savory, but I particularly enjoy them in a boiled egg sandwich and in a tuna salad.
2.5 kg turnips
2 heads garlic
1 cup salt
2 Tbsp sugar
6 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
Wash all the vegetables, scrubbing the beetroot and turnips well; dry.
Bring the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil, set aside to cool.
Wash the lemons and cut into thin wedges.
Peel the garlic and separate into cloves.
Peel the beetroot and cut into thick fingers.
Slice top off turnips and cut (with skin still on) into wedges.
Place a third of the turnip wedges in a large sterile jar.
Top with half the beetroot, garlic, and lemon.
Top with another third of the turnips, then the remaining half of beetroot, garlic, and lemon.
Finish with the last third of the turnips.
Pour the slightly cooled water-vinegar mix over the vegetables in the jar to completely cover by an inch or more.
Set aside in a cool dark place for 14 days.
The color from the beetroots will bleed into the brining fluid, changing the color of the water and the turnips (and lemons and garlic) to a deep, rich magenta.
Store in the refrigerator, and take out as needed.
The jar, if stored properly, will easily keep in the refrigerator for several months.
Perfect in sandwiches and as an accompaniment to grilled meats, cold cuts, all kinds of fish…