I’m pickling a lot these days. That seems to be the way it goes with summer gardening. You hoe and weed and till and sow and water and worry and then it all comes pouring in at once, faster than you can eat it.

When I have this problem, I pickle.

Folks, get ready for a lot of pickling posts. It’s a sure path to colorful shelves. And besides, colorful shelves in the cold winter months are a good thing.

Pickled Turnips:

The turnips didn’t grow yellow. But I tend to dye my vegetables when I pickle them so that they don’t turn an unappealing brown color while they sit in the liquid for a time. It also imparts some flavor.

For this, I used turmeric to color them, but you could also use saffron if you have it handy.

These were the turnips from the garden. There was more than this but I think someone had steamed turnips for dinner.

Here is what you’ll need to pickle these turnips: Anise seed (you could also use star anise) turmeric, white vinegar (you could also use rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, etc, etc) coriander seed, sea or Kosher salt, black peppercorns, sugar, mustard seed, and turnips of course!

Give your turnips a nice peel.

Then slice them thinly. I recommend a mandolin for this unless you have serious knife skills.

But you don’t want the slices to be paper thin, you want them to have some sturdiness to them. Otherwise they’ll disintegrate in the hot liquid.

Next you make your pickling mixture. Pour in the vinegar…

The salt!

The anise…

The mustard seed!

The sugar.

The peppercorns!

The coriander seed.

And at last the turmeric.

Keep in mind, that if you’re feeling elaborate, you can toast the seeds for 1-2 minutes in a pan before you add them to the liquid to bring out the flavorful oils. Just don’t toast anything powdered, ie. the turmeric, sugar, salt.

Once you bring your mixture to a simmer and turn off the heat, you can add your turnips to the mixture, or even better you can add your turnips to mason jars, tightly packed and pour the liquid over them, one by one.

But of course, I’m not the best at doing things the easy way. So I dumped ’em in, then dumped ’em in the jars.

Ain’t it purty?

These are such a fun and flavorful condiment to add to a salad, or a burger, or a sandwich. They really jazz things up. And sometimes life needs jazzing up.

Give this a try sometime!

Watch my video on how to make a universal pickle recipe and be sure to subscribe for more Modern Pioneering tips.


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“Pickled Turnips”

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 6 quarts (20 cups)


  • 12 cups white or rice wine vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric or saffron
  • 12 cups turnips thinly sliced to about 1/8 inch thick


  • Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.
  • (Optional) Toast the coriander, mustard, anise, and black peppercorn in a pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to exude their perfume.
  • Add the turmeric, coriander, mustard, anise and peppercorn to the liquid and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  • Pack the turnip slices in jars, pressing down gently to fill spaces. Pour the liquid into each jar leaving a 1/2 inch of head space at the top.
  • Place the lids on top and tighten gently. Store in the refrigerator or put the jars in a boiling water bath (212°F) for about 45 minutes. Remove them from the water and tighten the lids further. You will hear a fun “popping” sound as they cool which indicates they are sealing.