Try This Recipe for Fermented Turnips (Sauerruben) for a Tangy Snack (2024)

  • Fermenting Food
  • Asian Food
  • European Food
  • Vegetable Recipes


Leda Meredith

Try This Recipe for Fermented Turnips (Sauerruben) for a Tangy Snack (1)

Leda Meredith

Leda Meredith is a food writer and certified botanist who has written five books on foraging and preserving food.

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Updated on 12/21/22

Tested byMary Jo Romano

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Prep: 25 mins

Cook: 0 mins

Inactive time: 24 hrs

Total: 24 hrs 25 mins

Servings: 32 servings

Yield: 3to 4 pint jars

36 ratings

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Fermented turnips are a traditional food in both Asia and Europe. In Korea, turnips are used in a form of kimchi. This recipe is a traditional German ferment with simple, clean flavors. The turnips can be shredded like a sauerkraut (known as sauerruben), or the vegetable can be cut into discs or wedges for a crisper pickle.Crunchy and lightly tangy, they are excellent as part of a mixed vegetable salad, or just enjoyed as a crunchy, tangy snack.

Lactofermented vegetables have significant health benefits. The fermentation process helps break down cell structures, making nutrients more bioavailable. They are also loaded with probiotics that are good for our digestive systems and overall health.

This recipe couldn't be easier—no canning, no sterilizing jars, no long list of ingredients. You can have all the work done in under 10 minutes. The only difficult part is waiting a week while the turnips ferment and the flavor develops.

“Using my food processor, grating was easy and delightfully aromatic. I added sliced jalapeño for flavor and color. The entire process is easy and quick to assemble. I noticed how excited I was in anticipation of the results! As hoped, the jalapeño adds a nice overlay to the fermented turnips.” —Mary Jo Romano

Try This Recipe for Fermented Turnips (Sauerruben) for a Tangy Snack (3)


  • 7 to 8 medium turnips, about 3 pounds, peeled

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, or kosher salt

  • 1 medium fresh jalapeño, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Grate the turnips for a traditional kraut-style sauerruben, or cut them into thin rounds or wedges for a crunchier pickle. In either case, try to make the pieces as uniform as possible.

  3. If using the jalapeño, slice into thin rounds, discarding the seeds as you go, or leaving them in for more heat.

  4. Loosely pack the turnips and peppers into clean glass jars with lids. Don't pack too tightly. You want to make sure the brine can make full contact with the turnips. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for Lacto-fermented foods. Just be sure they are really clean.

  5. Make a brine by combining the salt and water, stirring until the salt has dissolved. It is important to use non-chlorinated water because chlorine can interfere with the fermentation process. Filtered tap water is fine.

  6. Pour the salt brine over the vegetables. Gently press down on the vegetables to release any air bubbles and to submerge them completely in the brine. Save any remaining brine in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may need more as the turnips ferment.

  7. Cover the jarsloosely with a lid, or with cheesecloth or a clean dish towel. Alternatively, consider using a small-batch fermentation kit. Place the jars on a plate to catch any overflow that may happen once active fermentation gets going.

  8. Leave the jars at room temperature for 3 days. During this time, remove the covers at least once a day and check to see that the vegetables are still submerged in the brine.

  9. Add additional reserved salt brine if necessary. You should start to see some bubbles on top, which is a sign that fermentation is underway. If you see any white film or mold spots on the brine, skim it off and discard.

  10. By the end of the three days, the turnips should have a clean, lightly sour smell and taste. Cover the jars and refrigerate. Wait at least five more days for the flavor to develop.


  • Using young spring turnips will result in a milder pickle.
  • Leave out the chili pepper and simply enjoy the refreshing taste of fermented spring turnips.
  • Use a food processor or box grater to grate the turnips.
  • Be sure to use rubber gloves when working with hot peppers, and be careful not to touch your eyes or other mucous membranes.
  • Running the jars and lids through a dishwasher cycle is an easy way to clean and sanitize.


  • This recipe also works well with rutabagas.
  • You can run regular tap water through a Brita filter, if desired.
  • Alternatively, you can boil the water and allow to cool completely, or you can leave the water out for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
  • If your tap water is very hard, consider buying filtered water.

How to Store

Lactofermented turnips will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for at least six months ​but are best eaten within three months. After three months they tend to lose some of their crispness.

Fermented Vegetable Recipes

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 225mg10%
Total Carbohydrate 2g1%
Dietary Fiber 1g2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 4mg20%
Calcium 12mg1%
Iron 0mg0%
Potassium 60mg1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Recipe Tags:

  • turnip
  • side dish
  • american
  • family dinner

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Try This Recipe for Fermented Turnips (Sauerruben) for a Tangy Snack (2024)
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