Torshi left, in English, its such an odd name. Sounds like something Keanu Reeves would eat in the movie Scanner Darkly, or Harrison Ford would be eating under a glowing umbrella, Blade Runner style. But I digress, really its just a pickle. But not your ordinary pickle, no-no-no, its a lacto fermented turnip that's been colored go-go dancer pink with some raw beets. But once again, why Torshi Left? Simple, Torshi in Hebrew means pickle, and Left, well, means turnip. As in, "fresh off the turnip truck", because I had no idea what I was eating for years. You see, if you go to your typical cool kid, big city Falafel joint, your going to be queried if you want these weird half-moon shaped fuchsia pickle things. I always said yes, and have been happier for it, however I didn't know what they were. Must be some exotic port of call vegetable only known in the middle east. As in the kind from Raiders of the lost Ark. The kind that says, "Don't eat the poisoned dates while snacking with a circus monkey wearing a fez kind of thing. Did I say I'm on some pretty powerful cold medication right now, uh yeah... Gets my obscure movie references part of my brain pumping. Getting back to the Torshi left though, it's flavour is so addictive. Its a little spicy, a little sweet, and packed with a salty sour crunch that brings whatever you eat it with to the next level. Falafels are great, but serve it with fresh grilled chicken, or sliced into a fish taco and "Boy-yo-yoing" goes your mouth! The beauty of it all, is its made with Lacto-fermentation. Which means your not boiling bottles and buying pressure cookers and talking to someone named Aunt May about the alchemy of canning. Instead, its easy-peasy. You can however check out Paige Russel here on instructables. She has been running a course on preserves and pickles that focuses on this very topic.
Science bit - The basics are as such, a salty environment is inhospitable to bad microorganisms but good for ones responsible for fermentation. When the foods begin to ferment, the acidity in the salty water rises due to lactic acid-fermenting organisms, while many other pathogenic microorganisms are killed. The bacteria produce lactic acid, as well as simple alcohols and other hydrocarbons. These may then combine to form esters, contributing to the unique flavor of lacto fermented foods. Its like home-grown probiotics - think yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut even. They all share that salty sour goodness that lacto fermenting gives.
Once again, Torshi Left - begs to ask, whats Torshi Right? Will leave that to the next instructable...
Step 1: Ingredients
Fresh ingredients are always key when making any dish, but when relying on fermentation or preserves, always pick the very best. Start when shopping, or if lucky enough, when picking off the plant.
- 4-5 turnips, about the size of a baseball, Not at softball!
- 1 beet, about the same size as the turnip
- 2 glass canning jars - wider the mouth, the better!
- 6-8 cloves of garlic - peeled
- 4-5 celery leaves, yes those bits most people throw away from the center of your celery
- 3 tablespoons of non-iodized salt - like kosher or pickling salt
- De-chlorinated water, about 3 cups
- 3 tablespoons of vinegar - oddly enough, optional.
- Flavorings, which are entirely optional. Really you don't need it but I added it for fun. For one bottle I used 1/2 teaspoon of dried chipotle pepper flakes, the other got a nice sprig of fresh dill, lightly chopped.
Step 2: Salty Brine
Prepare the brine.
You need to use dechlorinated water for this, hence you can use bottled water or simply tap juice that has been allowed to sit out over night.
- Measure out 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Add your salt (3 tablespoons) and turn the pot down to a simmer, stir the solution until the salt has dissolved
- Allow to cool.
- At this point you can add your vinegar (3 tablespoons). Some people use vinegar, some don't, but both are traditional. I like it with vinegar. Sure you get the acidic tang with lacto fermentation, but the vinegar really rounds it out for me.
Step 3: Peel
Peel your garlic, beets and turnips.
- Yes, that's all for this page.
- Ok, maybe a bit more. When you peel root veg, you can sometimes get a surprise, like a weird looking turnip inside. I chucked it, gave me the heebie-jeebies! When in doubt, toss it out!
Step 4: Chop
Chop how you like. Some people prefer rounds, I like the traditional "baton" style you see in all the cool kid falafal shops!
Step 5: Pack
With lacto fermentation you need your veggies packed tight. I do this by first squeezing in the weird shaped veg like my garlic, beets and herbs, followed by packing in the turnips. I like to have a little beet at the top and bottom of the jar. keep cramming it in, nice and tight!. If you flip the jar, not much should fall out as its all wedge in.
Step 6: Pour
Pour in your brine till the jar overflows and top with your celery leaves. Make sure the bottle in a catch basin of sorts. An old plate works dandy!
Step 7: Seal and Wait
Screw on the lids and now for the odd part. Ease back the lid about 1/2 a revolution. You should be able to gently wobble the lid a little. This is to allow gases to escape created by the lacto fermentation process. 3 days should be a minimum, with optimum result in about 10 days. The brine should slowly go a little murky with a little bubbly action taking place.
Step 8: Snack
Whew, 3 days later and I can't wait. The flavour is great, a little pungent, with a salty sour crunch that makes pickles seem a little lame by comparison. So good tossed on a salad, put in fish tacos, made into a yummy grilled pita wrap or served up along side some fresh falafel. Mmmm, nom nom nom, so good to snack on!
Once you have tasted them and are happy with the ferment, seal up tightly this time, and put in the fridge where they are good for about 3-4 weeks. Happy snacking