How to Make Sauerruben (Fermented Turnips)

Sauerruben is a traditional German fermented dish that is similar to sauerkraut. It is made of turnips instead of cabbage. Turnips are one of the easiest root crops to grow in Australia. If you live in a temperate part of Australia, turnips can be harvested for most of the year, and they even grow well during winter.

Turnips are incredibly cheap to grow. Just a few seeds packets will produce a bumper crop that can feed your entire family. You’ll have plenty left over for fermentation. Also, they are a ‘root-to-tip’ vegetable as you can eat the entire turnip including bulb, leaves and root. The roots and leaves are best eaten when they are young and tender, while the rest of the bulbous flesh can be fermented.

In this article, you’ll learn how to make sauerruben in a mason jar. This method is easy and economical. All you need is a 1 litre mason jar and a fermentation lid (low profile silicone or airlock device).

Let’s get started. 


  • 1 kg turnips. 
  • 1 tbsp sea salt or non-iodised salt.



Peel turnips and cut the ends off. Coarsely grate into a large mixing bowl.


Sprinkle with salt. Massage the turnip and salt mix until the salty brine fills the bottom of the bowl. 


 Add the mixture to your mason jar. Push the turnip into the jar with your hand and/or fermenting tamper. Ensure that there are no air pockets. The brine should be a few centimeters about the grated turnip mix. 


Place a large cabbage leaf on top of the mixture and secure in place with a glass weight. The cabbage leaf and glass weight will ensure that the grated turnip stays under the brine. Leave 3-5 cms head space.


Secure your jar with a fermenting lid. Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks. Keep out of direct sunlight. Taste test your fermentation every few days until you are happy with the taste.


Replace the fermentation lid with a storage cap or canning lid. Store in your fridge. Enjoy!




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