Last weekend at the farmers' market, the options included some hearty greens, purple cabbages, root vegetables and winter squash. Though I miss the towers of corn and piles of glowing plums, I'm excited to welcome the autumn produce and short, cozy days.
One item I'm always happy to see come fall is the new daikon radish. Fresh and tender, the farmers' market variety is a world away from the beat-up version I can get all year long at my local Asian market. Crunchy, bright and just slightly sharp, daikon makes an amazingly tasty pickle.
This particular pickle is built to mimic the flavors of the carrot and daikon pickle that you find served as a tart garnish alongside spring rolls and lettuce wraps at Vietnamese restaurants. The different is that this one has been designed to be safe for boiling water bath canning. It's a bit stronger in the vinegar department but lacks none of the flavor.
Before You Get Started
Look for daikon radishes that are fresh and free from scrapes and dings. Stick with ones that are between 1 and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Too much thicker and you'll wind up with a woody core.
Pay attention to how you slice your daikon. Keep your rounds a consistent thickness and don't go too thin. A happy medium of 1/4-1/2 inch thick is best.
Make sure you choose unseasoned rice wine vinegar. Seasoned rice wine vinegar is pre-sweetened (often with high fructose corn syrup), which means that you won't be able to control the level of sweetness in your pickle.
For a more complex pickle, tuck a bit of star anise into the jars.
About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars.