Pickled Turnips

 The din is low as the waiter sets down our glistening plate of hummus and we glare at each other with a challenging and possessive look. Suspended in the creamy spread are tidbits delicate rose colored turnips. We both do the calculation in our head and are disappointed in the equation. I quickly signal the waiter to deliver another bowl. Neither of us wants to resort to the feeble slices of pita bread as hummus vessels. Gloriously pink pickled turnips! I’ve found a new and more respectful approach to turnips. They have always been peasant food to me and even having turnips in your pantry signals tough times and sacrifice in the days ahead. But after touring most of the kind of restaurants that make hummus by the barrel in the DC area I have developed an irrational addiction to those little pink flavor bullets that inevitably garnish plates of said hummus. They are very easy to make and you might think you could tire of them but I’ve found that it is easy to gobble up entire jars in one sitting. The secret to the pink color is to heat the zesty brine with red beets. They take no time to put up in jars and will be ready for noshing in two weeks.
• 3 cups (750 ml) water
• 1/3 cup (70 g) coarse white salt, such as kosher salt or sea salt
• 1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar (distilled)
• 1 red beet peeled and cut in pieces
• 2# turnips, peeled and cut in to French fry like sticks
• 2 cloves garlic
• Bay leaf
Combine first four ingredients in a sauce pan bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat. Place turnips, garlic and bay leaf in a large jar or container or in two smaller containers. Pour over the warm liquid making sure there are some pieces of beet in each container. Let cool to room temperature cover and keep in refrigerator for two weeks before eating.
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