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Fermented Turnips or Sauerruben freshly made in a jar on the counter with a turnip next to it.

Fermented Turnips Recipe (Sauerruben)

Fermented turnips (sauerruben) are super easy to make and have many health benefits! They are teaming with gut-loving probiotics, plus turnips are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, plus powerful detoxification and cancer-fighting properties.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Fermenting time 7 d
Total Time 7 d 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 64 servings
Calories 10 kcal


  • 1 Food Processor or Box Grater
  • 1 Large Glass Bowl
  • 1 Food Grade Container or Fermentation Crock see above article for links to my favorites
  • 1 Fermentation Weight see above article for links to my favorites


  • 5 lbs Fresh Turnips If using more or less turnips, adjust the salt ratio accordingly
  • 1.5-2 tbsp Salt Redmond Real Salt, Himalayan Crystal Salt or Celtic Sea Salt
  • Spices (optional - to taste) smashed garlic cloves, whole black peppercorns, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, dill, mustard seeds, etc.!


  • Wash turnips and trim off the root tips and greens. Save the greens for later!
  • If the turnips are mature and have coarse skin, peel them. If the turnips are young and tender, you don’t need to peel them.
  • Shred turnips using a food processor or a box grater. If using a food processor, coarsely chop turnips into chunks first with a sharp knife. I love my food processor - it gets the job done in a matter of minutes!
  • Add shredded turnips to a large glass bowl and massage in 1 ½ Tbsp salt. Really work in the salt well, squeezing firmly. Then, give it a taste. If you feel like it needs a bit more salt, add the extra ½ Tbsp of salt. Add your spices, if desired. I find that 1 Tbsp of each spice works well for my taste preferences.
  • Assess the moisture level. At this point, the shredded and salted turnips should start to weep liquid and look wilty. If it still seems dry and has room for more salt, add more salt. If it’s already decently salty, cover your bowl and give it an hour to weep some more. If that doesn’t work, add a flavorful liquid like a few tablespoons of lemon juice or pickle juice. Don’t add water as this can cause discoloration and/or a mushy texture.
  • Pull out your food grade container or fermentation crock. Using a clean hand, scoop handfuls of the turnips and place them in your container/crock, pressing each layer down firmly so that the released liquid forms a layer on top and air pockets are removed. Stop filling when you reach 3” from the top of the container.
  • Cover with a layer of a few turnip leaves (this keeps any small turnip bits or spices under the liquid and away from touching air) and add your fermentation weight.
  • Set on a plate (to catch any bubble over during the fermentation process) in a cool location (55-75 degrees) and out of direct sunlight. I like to place a tea towel on top.
  • Monitor daily to make sure that everything remains submerged in the brine. Press down, if needed. After 7 days, taste your fermented turnips (sauerruben). It should be slightly tart and have a soft texture. If you like a strong fermented flavor, you can let it keep going for up to 21 days! 
  • Remove turnip leaves, pack the contents down tightly and secure with an air-tight lid and store in the fridge for up to a year! I prefer to keep the fermentation weight on as well to ensure that the contents stay submerged and mold-free. If you are using a fermentation crock, transfer the fermented turnips to a food safe jar, pack down the contents and secure with an air-tight lid.


Calories: 10kcal
Keyword fermented, probiotic, turnips, Vegetable
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