Lebanese-style Pickled Beets & Turnips: Canning Recipe


These pickled turnips and beets are so easy to make and delicious.  They are fabulous straight out of the jar, added to chicken shawarma wraps, or sliced or diced and used in place of traditional cucumber pickles or relish.  Perhaps the best part is that the beets dye the turnips a bold fuschia, making this one of those canning projects that will take a front-row seat on your pantry shelves.

This recipe assumes you have some experience canning using the boiling water bath (or “BWB”) method. It is suitable for beginners so long as it is supplemented with BWB instructions from the USDA or the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

Lebanese-style Pickled Turnips and Beets
Makes approx. 5 pints

2 pounds white turnips, greens removed*
1 pound red beets, greens removed*
5 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup pickling salt
1/3 cup sugar
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

* the weights listed are with the greens removed.

 1. Prep the beets.  We suggest beginning with the beets and roasting them the night before.  Remove the greens and stem without cutting into the beet.

Wrap Beets in Foil

Wrap each beet root-side up in aluminum foil and place in an easy-to-wash baking dish.  Don’t be misled by our photo of three large beets—this is far more than one pound.  But we like beets and so we roasted up some extra for salads while we were at it.

Bake the beets in a 450-degree oven for 45 minutes (for medium-sized beets) to an hour (for large ones).  This is a long time to run the oven at a high temp, so if you’ve got a pizza, some French fries, or other goods to bake that can take the heat, go ahead and multitask as the beets won’t give off much steam.  In the alternative, you could do what we did, which is roast them in a toaster oven.  We call our Oster Extra Large Convection Toaster Oven our “second oven,” but it gets used far more than the big one and can hold a 12-inch pizza or 9×13 pan (without handles).

Slip Skins off Beets

When the beets are done, let them cool down, ideally overnight.  Remove the foil and slip off the skins under a cold tap.

Beets Crime Scene

Slice the beets into ½-inch batons.  Do not use your nice cutting board as it will look like a crime scene afterwards.

Caught Red-handed

Be prepared for a lot of bad puns about being caught red-handed.

2. Prep your jars.  Sterilize five pint jars in a boiling water bath canner.  For this recipe, we were experimenting with Ikea Korken jars for a separate post, but wide-mouth mason jars would work just as well, if not better.  If you are using metal lids and bands, place lids in a small bowl and ladle boiling water from the canner to cover.  After sterilization, leave jars in canner and reduce heat to a simmer.

Ikea Jars Sterilize

3. Prep your brine.  In a stock pot, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Reduce heat to simmer.

Boil Pickle Brine

4. Prep your turnips.  While everything is either boiling or simmering, peel your turnips using a knife and cut them into batons to match the beets.

Peel Turnips

Cut Turnips Into Batons

5. Fill and close the jars.  Working one jar at a time, remove the jar from the canner, draining all water back into the pot.  Place one garlic clove in the jar.  Taking care to avoid touching the rim of the jar, pack the jar with a combination of 2/3 turnips and 1/3 beets, leaving slightly more than ½-inch headspace.

Pack batons with half inch headspace

Ladle brine into a heatproof measuring cup.  Pour brine into the jar to cover turnips and beets, leaving ½-inch headspace.

Fill with brine

Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel and close the lid.  If using metal lids and bands, use a magnetic wand or tongs to place lid on top of jar.  Screw on band until it is finger-tight, and place jar back in canner while still hot.  Repeat the process with the four remaining jars.  (If you have extra batons and brine, combine them in a glass jar or container, add a clove of garlic, and place in the refrigerator.)

6. Process the jars.  Once all jars have been returned to the canner, you should have at least one inch of water covering the jars.  If you do not, top it off.  Cover the canner and bring the water to a boil.  Process the jars for 15 minutes.

7. Cool, label and store.  After processing has completed, turn off the heat and remove the canner’s lid.  Let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes before removing them to towels or a cooling rack.  Check all seals before labeling and storing.


  1. Ann Abbitz
    March 3, 2015

    One of the fondest memories I have of my grandmother is actually being with her in the kitchen while she was canning. She was famous – in our family, at least – for her sweet, bread-and-butter pickles. Thank you so much for not just the recipe, but for taking the time to post (pictures and everything!) about the entire process of preparing, prepping, and canning the beets.
    I will definitely be trying this recipe out & I hope it will help bring back some more memories of those weekends with my grandmother :)

  2. Ivan
    March 3, 2015

    It’a worth to try. I like both turnips and beets. I have tried pickled beets but pickled turnips is something new for me. Now I have big wish to try especially in a combination with beets. I laughed watching photo about being caught red-handed :) That often happens to me when I cut beets. I quickly wash my hands that nobody notices :) You have very nice jars, I should try to find such.

  3. Jasmine Fletcher
    March 4, 2015

    I’ve never had this pickle. I can eat it raw but I’ve never been fond of cooked turnip. I think I’d like your pickles. I normally use vinegar to pickle turnip. It taste great. Will try yours soon. Btw, the interview is pretty informative. Have a great week

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