Radish has always been one of my favourite secondary vegetables. What do I mean by secondary? When was the last time you sat down for a nice dinner, a protein, a starch and a big helping of radishes for your main veg? It will never happen. But a top a salad, inside a taco, even in soup radishes can add and enhance many dishes. The one place you will always find radish however is at every Korean BBQ restaurant pickled.
I began my pickling adventure looking across the internet searching for different methods of pickling comparing the different recipes I found and all their differences. http://phickle.com/pickled-radishes-a-good-place-to-start-fermenting/ gave me good background knowledge of why even pickle a radish. According to this all varieties of radishes are ideal for pickling. But the recipe here seemed to be lacking, almost a little too simple just salt and water.
- 1 bunch radishes
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
- ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
- Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds
- To prepare the radishes: Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes, then use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar. Top the rounds with red pepper flakes and mustard seeds.
- To prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for about 5 days after pickling
This is the recipe I chose to follow (http://cookieandkate.com/2014/spicy-quick-pickled-radishes/) the spicy flavour from the chili peppers plays off of the radishes natural peppery flavour. The pickling process here is quite fast due to the thin round cuts of the radish only taking a few hours to pickle.
I am very pleased with the results of my first time attempting to pickle radishes, or anything for that matter. The radishes took on the vinegar flavour from apple cider, with the maple syrup cutting through some of the heavier acidic notes and the chili peppers gave the radish a nice kick (and colour to the brine) but next time when I pickle radishes again I think I might add even more chili pepper flakes. The one area that did not work out ideally my first time through was my choice of jar. The large mason jar I had only came to half full with the recipes completion. Meaning the radish would not be able to preserve properly with so much air tramped inside with them. But there are two easy fixes to this problem: 1) transfer to a smaller more appropriate sized jar or 2) my personal favourite of the two… pickle more radishes!