Literally translated from Turkish, Karışık Turşu means mixed sour pickles, and that's exactly what this is. You can actually use whatever you feel like or whatever is in season for this ferment, but fruit with a firm consistency are best for this ferment. Cabbage, green tomatoes, all kinds of turnips and roots, quinces or apples are popular traditional ingredients. A good Karışık Turşu also needs flavorings such as bay leaves, black pepper, lemon, garlic, dill or parsley.
In contemporary preparation, a lot of vinegar is used, so the result is not a ferment. Traditionally, however, the vegetables were fermented using lactic acid, and that's how I do it. The result is sour in both cases, but lactic acid tastes much more nuanced than simple vinegar, and it's a bit funky too.
When the vegetables were still fermented in the traditional way, a 5-10% brine was used. This is ideal at high temperatures because the vegetables remain crunchy even after the lactic acid fermentation process. At moderate and cool temperatures, 3% salt is sufficient. The lower salt content is also better suited to the usual Central European taste.
Karışık Turşu is two in one
In the southern cities of Turkey, especially in Mersin and Adana, the fermented turnip drink Şalgam is offered for sale at street food stalls everywhere. It usually consists of turnip and carrot, often also beet and chili, fermented in brine. Most stalls offer a spicy and a mild alternative.
The Karışık Turşu brine tastes pretty much the same, and you can control the spiciness yourself by adding more or less chili. Another great example of a zero waste ferment. I'm loving it.
- 1 bail-top jar, 2 liter
- 1 sweet potato
- 3-4 carrots
- 3 turnips [ alternatively ½ white radish ]
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4-6 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 cherry leaves [ alternatively blackcurrant or blackberry leaves ]
- 1 small beetroot
- 1 red chili pepper [ optional ]
- 8-10 dried chickpeas
- 1 liter water
- 30 grams salt
- 80-100 ml rice vinegar [ optional ]
- 1 bunch dill [ optional ]
- Clean and peel the vegetables and cut into bite-sized pieces of approximately the same size. These can be sticks, cubes or slices. Cut the beet into 4-5 mm thin slices and the chili into coarse rings.
- Mix the water and salt and leave to stand for a while so that the salt can dissolve. If using rice vinegar, add it now.
- First place the peppercorns and chickpeas in the fermentation jar so that they later do not float to the top and end up above the brine. Layer the chopped vegetables in the jar. Add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and pieces of chili in between. If using dill, place in two layers between the vegetables.
- Finish with the beet slices and cherry leaves. Lay them on top of each other so that they act as a horizontal barrier.
- Cover the vegetables completely with the brine. It should reach 2-3 cm below the edge of the jar and nothing should stick out, as anything that comes into contact with oxygen could become moldy. Use weights or other barriers if necessary.
- Ferment for 2-6 weeks. The first week a little warmer (approx. 21° C), then if possible cooler (around 18° C). After opening, store in a cool place and keep the vegetables under the brine.
- Once opened, the vegetables will keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge, usually much longer.
How does Karışık Turşu taste best?
Mixed sour vegetables are particularly popular as a side dish. Due to its appetizing properties, it is also often served as a starter or mezze.
In summer 2023, I made a Karışık Turşu version with freshly brewed linden tea for a TV report for German public broadcaster NDR. Linden tea is a very popular Turkish drink, so I found the combination quite appropriate. The result is fabulous, by the way! You can find my recipe in the NDR recipe collection https://www.ndr.de/ratgeber/kochen/rezepte/In-Lindenlake-fermentiertes-Gemuese,gemuese842.html