Make Turnip Kraut

My mother, Gail Lee Martin, found creative ways to use the produce from their bountiful garden each summer. She shared this turnip kraut recipe on the eHow site in 2009.

Turnip kraut is made the same way as sauerkraut has been made with cabbage

for centuries. Americans discovered the wonderful taste of sour turnips
during the Great Depression and when they spread it upon knackwurst in a bun, the sandwiches were called sauerrubens.

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:

  • A plentiful supply of turnips
  • A shredder with a medium cutter
  • Scales
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Canning salt
  • Enameled pan shallow enough to fit under the shredder
  • Large stoneware crock
  • Dinner plate that will fit inside the crock
  • A heavy weight to hold the plate and the kraut down under the brine, a quart jar full of water works well
  1. We like to make sauerkraut from turnips because we can grow turnips in the spring and again in the fall when the weather is cooler. We prefer the purple tops but other varieties work well too. Cabbage matures in the hottest part of the summer in Kansas and it either splits or we are pestered with worms. We don’t have those problems with turnips.

    We loved to preserve the finished kraut by canning it in pint canning jars to store on our pantry shelves. This is another way of saving our garden produce that we can add to our growing list of fast foods for the homemaker.

  2. Prepare the turnips by washing thoroughly, then cut the top and tail off. Peel the turnips.
  3. Push them through the shredder.
  4. Weigh out five pounds of shredded turnips.
  5. Mix in three and one-half tablespoons of canning salt to each five pounds of turnips.
  6. Pack the salted turnip mixture in the stoneware crock. Press down
    thoroughly. Place the dinner plate on top of the cut turnips and place a weight on top to hold the turnips about two inches under the brine. The brine will start immediately. The brine should cover the cut turnips at all times to keep the strings of vegetable from discoloring or drying out. If at any time the brine gets less that the two inches, add more salty water. Then cover the top of the crock with a clean cloth to keep dust out. We also cover the crock with a black plastic bag, which keeps the sunlight from the kraut.

    2008-11-02 gail and ks photos 001

    Two of the crocks that Gail and Clyde used for making turnip kraut.

  7. Kraut takes about ten to twelve days to complete its fermentation if kept around seventy degrees temperature. The environment will influence the flavor of the finished product: a warm curing area will speed up the curing process, while a cooler area will result in a longer curing time. Short fermentation tends to produce a ‘sweet’ kraut; the prolonged time results in a ‘tart’ or really sour sauerkraut. While the kraut is progressing, inspect the crock daily. As the curing continues, bubbles will form and work to the top, skim off the bubbles from the surface of the brine. The fermentation process will produce an odor that some people find unpleasant.
  8. When the mixture ceases to bubble you may fix your first serving by adding a cup or so of the kraut to browned and cooked ‘country style pork ribs.’ Slow cook so the flavors mingle.
  9. The remaining turnip kraut is best preserved in canning jars. Bring the
    mixture to a simmer and hot pack the kraut into clean, hot pint or quart jars. Cover the kraut with the hot brine, leaving a one-half inch space at the top. Adjust canning lids and process in boiling water bath, which means the water is one inch over the top of the jars, which are setting on a wire rack that comes with your canner. Start timing when the water is at a full rolling boil, fifteen minutes for pints and twenty minutes for quarts.

    kraut ready for the pantry

    The kraut is ready to store in the pantry.

  10. Turnip kraut is delicious and easy to prepare with a variety of meals. Open the jar, heat, and add the meat. Any kind of sausage or just plain wieners are tasty too. Our favorite is with pork ribs.

2 thoughts on “Make Turnip Kraut

  1. I’m in awe of all the things the folks knew how to do. And their unflagging energy! I brought home a single kohlrabi from the co-op this week–now to figure out what to do with it! Mom and Dad grew them at least one year, I remember.


  2. Pingback: Heritage Recipe – Turnip Pie | Discovering Mom

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