These pickles are traditionally made with wine marks, the grape skins and other solid matter that remain in the bottom of the tank when newly fermented wine is racked off. In lieu of wine marks, red wine vinegar is a good substitute. If you’re interested in making this the traditional way, ask friends who are into home wine-making to save their marks for you. Adjust the quantities for a smaller batch, if you wish.
I don’t see why you couldn’t treat other roots this way–carrots, peeled celeriac, beets…
6 lbs white turnips
3 quarts red wine marks, or 3 quarts red wine vinegar
1. Find a glass or ceramic container that will hold the turnips. If using a crock rather a large jar, you may want to put a plate over the turnips to keep them submerged.
2. Trim the turnips and peel them, but don’t slice them. Pour the vinegar over them and allow to macerate for three weeks.
3. To serve–use either like raw sauerkraut, or do what the Italians do: Thinly slice about a pound of turnips. Put a 1/4 cup of olive oil (or 2 T olive oil and 2 T lard) in a skillet with a clove of garlic. Add turnips and cook, covered, for half an hour. If they begin to dry out, add a tablespoon or two of water. When they’re done, season with salt and pepper, and serve with slices of a mild Italian sausage, such as cotechino.