Guess what? It’s almost the holidays. Well, if you’re 22 or younger, it’s not almost the holidays. For my people, aka the 30 and up crowd, Thanksgiving is basically tomorrow. I know, 22-year-olds, I sound insane. My 22-year-old self would be really irritated with me for thinking this. My 34-year-old self, though, well… I know that time doesn’t fly so much when you’re having fun as it does when you’re getting older. It’s crazy. Like if you asked me the date and I didn’t have time to think before answering, I’d probably say “May 9th” because no part of my brain or body feels like it could possibly be pushing November. But it is.
The upside to all this speeding through space and time stuff is that it almost always feels like a holiday or a birthday! And in addition to time with my distant family and lots of traditions I love, holidays mean yummy, seasonal, special foods. I was always the kid to like all the veggies, so I looked forward to parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts and whatever rutabaga dish was served up. Rutabaga remains one of my first purchases once the wintry veggies start showing up at the farmers’ markets. Today, though, I’m going to share a quick and easy parsnip ferment with you. It gets good and bubbly, and fittingly, the parsnips do soften so with the right flavoring, you can mimic that holiday puree, but in a less calorific and more pickled format.
I got a great tip on parsnip fermenting from Alex Lewin’s Real Food Fermentation: Lewin suggests cutting parsnips into coins so that the fibers in the parsnip don’t lend an unpleasant texture to your pickle. It totally works and it’s one of my favorite tricks from the book.
This is a pickle that gets soft relatively quickly, but it’s not mush soft, it’s appropriately soft. With the right seasonings, this might just be the perfect base for a holiday hors d’oeuvre or the pickled accompaniment to a cheese plate.
PICKLED PARSNIPS (Say this with a British accent for maximum enjoyment. If you’re already British, that won’t be that fun for you. Sorry about that!)
I made this version into an approximation of parsnip puree: a lot of garlic, a little bit of pepper and a touch of lemon. Feel free to experiment with seasonings! If you’re new to fermented pickling, I strongly recommend reading my pickle FAQ before trying your first batch.
- 4-5 scrubbed but not peeled, medium parsnips, chopped into coins
- 2 whole peppercorns
- 5 cloves of garlic, halved
- the zest from half an organic lemon
- 2 cups of room temperature brine (2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon salt)
- Place lemon zest, peppercorns and garlic into a quart jar, in that order.
- Top with parsnip coins
- Pour brine over the veggies and use your preferred method to submerge. I usually use the cheapo jar method.
- I don’t ferment these for that long. Check yours at 5 days and see if they’re acidic enough for you. If so, remove your weight, secure a lid and stick them in the fridge. If not, give them another day or two before checking again.