Şalgam or Şalgam Suyu. It is pronounced "shal-gum" (in translation: "turnip juice") is a popular and traditional beverage from the southern Turkey cities Adana, Hatay, Tarsus, Mersin, Kahramanmaras, İzmir and the Çukurova region. The name şalgam is Persian in origin; in Persian it is written شلغم and means "turnip" (Brassica rapa). The French traveler, naturalist and writer Pierre Belon described the existence of the drink and the practice of its creation already in the 15th century. and it is one of the national drinks since hundred years. It is either called turnip juice, turnip water, shalgam juice, or shalgam water. There exists also a hot version of the drink that is named acil Studies have also shown that the juice of the purple carrot used in Salgam reduces the effects of high-carbohydrate diets.
Besides Raki and Ayran it is drunk after eating Kebab. Very often a slice of purple carrot is added just before drinking and other times wedges of paprica and garlic. Şalgam is often served with the alcoholic drink rakı — not mixed, but rather in a separate glass as both complement the taste of the other drink. It is also part of Armenian cuisine. In some parts of Turkey both Ayran and Şalgam are mixed together It is considered to be one of the most drunk beverages during winter in Turkey. The renowned food critic Jim Leff compared its taste to the taste of sour cherries. The Kanji (drink) is a similar drink that is consumed in the Indian subcontinent.
Although the Turkish word şalgam literally means "turnip", şalgam is made with the sour and salty brine. of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced and flavoured with aromatic turnip (çelem) fermented in barrels with the addition of ground bulgur and rock salt. It is sometimes sold by street vendors who serve it from large goblets, but there are also specialized shops that sell pickles called turşucu that sell non-industrial versions of Şalgam. There is no standard production technique used by the industry, but the traditional method uses sourdough fermentation and carrot fermentation. Since 1996 there exist factories for large scale industrial production of Şalgam in Turkey The biggest producer of Salgam is the cooperation Doganay Gida, whose market share of the annual production is nearly 95%. While the drink is exported to both Europe and Japan there exists no large scale importation into America, a company called Ersu tried to sell it as "Black miracle drink" but the campaign was eventually canceled. While the industrial method</ref> takes 4–5 days, the traditional method takes 10 to 12 days. The special taste of Şalgam comes from lactic acid and ethanol The special process is an adaption of yeast fermentation and spontananeous lactic acid fermentation.
While şalgam is commonly recommended as a cure for hangovers, consuming excess amounts may cause bloating according to some sources. According to local Turkish custom it is drunk to help digestion. It has been reported that the drink has positive health benefits, because its anthocyanidic contents reduce health disease risks and the propability of carcinogenic uccurences. Aldough some researchers believe that its high salt ratio could be dangerous for people with heart diseases. It contains β-carotene, group B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and iron and is drunk for its antiseptic effects.
It was reported in academic journals that it helps to remove toxins from the human body, can also help with reducing kidney stones. It is also used to treat pubertal acne, eczema, abscesses, whitlow, and hematomas.
Şalgam, has been celebrated as a festival in Adana since 2010. The World Rakı Festival (aka Adana Kebap ve Şalgam Festival), emerged from a hundred-year tradition of enjoying kebabs, with liver, şalgam and rakı. The event turned into a nationwide popular street festival; street musicians playing drums and zurna entertain visitors all night long on the second Saturday night of December.
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