What would a spring harvest be without a surplus of radishes? Actually, I imagine there are very mixed responses, depending on who you’re talking to (the ones harvesting vs. the ones eating). Despite developing a good litany of curses every time I kneeled into wet grass to bundle another 96 bunches of radishes, I do still love them. Whether sliced thinly on toast with olive oil, salt, and dill, or roasted with last fall’s beets and carrots, this little root is definitely something I rely on. As many cooks before me already know, they make damn fine pickles.
This recipe is definitely one of the most reliable. It has many close relatives in the cooking world and is certainly nothing new or innovative. The only thing I like to do is carve a few whole radishes to look like jack-o-lanterns and have a jar of spooky radish heads once October rolls around.
Ol’ Reliable Pickled Radishes
Makes about 3 quarts.
1/2 t Yellow Mustard Seeds
1/4 t Coriander Seeds
1 T Black Peppercorns
1 Garlic Clove – finely minced
1/2 c Cider Vinegar
1/4 c Brown Sugar
1 c Water
1 T Kosher Salt (The ratio here, if you run short of brine, is 1 heaping T of salt to 1 c of Water)
Wash the radishes thoroughly and slice into 1/4″ – 1/8″ slices, depending on your preference. Set slices in a bowl with ice to keep them crisp while prepping the spices and brine.
Mix the spices and garlic together in a bowl, distribute evenly among the jars you have prepared (hot water bath for sterilizing, ya’ know). In a sauce pan, mix brown sugar, water, vinegar, and salt together. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. It is important to not let this boil too rapidly or for too long because you will loose a lot of your liquid to evaporation and your brine will be thrown out of whack.
Pack the jars with the sliced radishes, leaving an inch of head space at the top of each jar. Top off each jar with the just-boiled brine, raising the content level to about 1/2″ of headspace.
Clean the mouths of the jars, screw on the lids, and process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. The pickles can be stored in the fridge or in a dark place while they ferment and should be ready to snack on in 1-2 weeks.
The pickles are good eaten on their own, they are also good on toast with olive oil and dill (no salt this time!), and are great in stir fries.