Just thinking about these pickles gets my mouth water. I ran out of these pickles a few weeks ago and have reminded myself to do more. These pickles are crunchy, sour and tangy; they add incredible depth to any salad or sandwich. It will present your worldly Turkish sandwich or give life to a dull salad. I call these my comfort pickles … OK don’t go there, but when I’ve had a bad day or I’m PMSing, these are the first pickles I reach. When I’m in a hurry and in need of a snack, I open the fridge, stick a few of these pickles with a fork, and turn it off. There are usually a few drops of pink vinegar juice in the bottom of the fridge from these snacks, but a girls had to live a little.
It amazes me that a humble vegetable like nose or beetroot can turn into such beautiful pickles. Beetroot and nose are a vegetable in winter, so take advantage of their season. Growing up, my dad would buy a bushel with a nose and a pound of beets so we could fill up for this winter treat. When Dad returned from the market, you guess who got to wash and clean every nose and beet? Yes, you guessed it. On the back porch, we created a large plastic pool, filled it with water, and then threw a few arm loads into vegetables. The first wash was to remove the mud, the second wash was to scrub and scrape stains or brown areas. I remember my hands would be frozen during this whole process, but for some reason I didn’t care. I knew it was totally worth it … I should have known I would grow up to be food.
The beets give the nose a beautiful pink hue. I remember watching my mother pour the brine into the jar and seeing the reddish red, the white clusters turned to a vibrant pink color. When she sealed the jars, we were allowed to turn the glasses around and watch the color fill the jar. The following is the quick method for making these pickles:
Pink pickled turnips – Turshi Shalgham wa Shwandar
2 pounds of small mayonnaise, halved and then sliced
4-6 garlic cloves
2 small beets
3 cups of water
3 cups white vinegar
4 tablespoons salting salt
Start by washing the vegetables very well. If you bought your noses from the farmers market (and you should), first rinse them off and then scrub.
Scrub and scrape away stains or brown areas. Do not, if the nose is small, just cut across. Note: Some recipes require peeling of the nose, but I find that the peel adds crunch.
Wash and peel the beets as the outer peel is hard. I prefer to peel the beets under running water to prevent my hands from staining. Of course, you can always wear gloves. Peel and half the garlic cloves.
When all vegetables are ready, it’s time to make pickles. In a large pot, place a few garlic and sugar beets. Pack the needles. I top them with another pair of sliced beets.
Continue until you fill all your jars.
Combine the vinegar, water and stir in the salt until dissolved. Pour the liquid over the needles and cover the jars tightly with a non-reactive cap. Close jars and flip them upside down 2-3 times to allow the color to spread evenly. Leave it at room temperature. Let sit at room temperature in a dark place for 3-5 days. I suggest tasting them after 2 days to experience how the taste develops. Turn jars upside down from time to time so that the color can spread evenly.
These pickles hold very well for 2 weeks refrigerated and last much longer if stored in the refrigerator.