Photo: Mirna Bamieh
Mirna is also an expert in fermentation and teaches classes online. I loved what she had to say about this method of “cooking,” and what it represents to her. This is a general technique more than a recipe with specific quantities.
“Fermentation represents preservation and prolonging the time and life of produce that is on the verge of dying. For me, the space of the jar is a beautiful space of containment. The bacterial life of cultures fighting inside the jar, the color, and the smell keeps changing over time. It is a way to slow down time and to create a sense of control over the fears of the world and my country. Preparing this delicious ferment is easy, but it takes skill and practice to preserve that crunch in the turnips.”
7 medium turnips, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 inch strips or half-moons. (Any thinner than that and you’ll have softer turnips, any more than 1/2 inch and they’ll be less enjoyable to bite.)
1 liter water
2 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
A couple of bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon black tea, or a few grape or oak leaves. (They all have great tannins that will preserve the crunch for longer.)
1 cup active brine (from another jar of fermented vegetable, like beetroot or cucumber, at least a month old. OR add 1–2 tablespoons of raw apple vinegar. Never use chemical or white vinegar as it affects the good bacteria we want to cultivate in our jar.)
Submerge the chopped turnips in a jar with the water and salt.
Add a couple of bay leaves, or any of the other leaves.
Add one cup of active brine or the raw apple cider vinegar.
Store in glass jars with a tight-fitting lid at room temperature.
Place in the refrigerator after two weeks to stop the fermentation.