Why This Recipe Works
- This recipe uses salt and natural bacteria to create a fermented, digestion-friendly pickle.
- Use a large quart jar for the radishes, and a small quarter pint far as a weight to keep the vegetables submerged.
The radish is an amazingly handy and versatile little root. It grows incredibly fast (ready to pick just 28-30 days after the seeds go into the ground); it's full of bright, peppery flavor (the hotter the season, the spicier they'll be); and it can be eaten raw, braised, smeared with butter, or pickled.
Of all the possible radish treatments, I'm particularly fond of them when pickled (though crunching through several buttered and salted French breakfast radishes is never bad either). My default radish pickle is this slightly sweet quick version. What's so nice about that one is that it takes all of seven minutes to put together from start to finish and it is ready to eat within just a day or two.
I'll be the first to declare that the quick pickled version is delicious (and so good on a homemade taco). However, when I'm in no rush to go from radish to pickle, there's another method that results in a wonderfully crisp, tangy finished product that I actually like even better than the vinegar variation. If you haven't guessed it by now, I'm talking about a fermented radish.
"It's the process of allowing beneficial bacteria to grow within the food, transforming sugar and starches into tart lactic acid."
Fermentation is one of the oldest method for food preservation. It's the process of allowing beneficial bacteria to grow within food, transforming sugar and starches into tart lactic acid. It's how sauerkraut, preserved lemons, and the classic deli kosher dill are made, and in addition to creating wonderful flavor, it also makes for a healthier, digestion-friendly pickle.
When you ferment, it's important to keep the vegetable fully submerged in the brine. I like to use a wide mouth quart jar as my primary vessel and then use a little quarter pint jar filled with a bit of brine as the weight. If you don't have a little jar that will fit, you can also fill a zip top bag with some of the brine and use that as your weight.
Make sure that both your primary jar and the weight (either smaller jar or bag) are scrupulously clean. Because fermentation is a process of allowing bacteria to work, you want to ensure you've got good beneficial bacteria and not harmful ones.
This recipe uses a 5% salt solution. To achieve that, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and stir in 3 tablespoons of sea salt until dissolved. Let it cool completely before using. This solution can be used for any number of fermented vegetables.
Fermented Radish Slices Recipe
These pickles are crisp, tangy, and good for digestion.
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh radishes, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick slices
Wash one wide mouth quart jar and one quarter pint jar well.
Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, stir until salt dissolves, and let cool to room temperature.
Pack radish slices in the clean quart jar and cover with cooled brine, leaving about an inch of headspace.
Fit the quarter pint jar into the mouth of the quart jar. Pour the remaining brine into the quarter pint jar. Press the quarter pint jar down, until the brine reaches the rim of the quart jar, so that the radishes are completely submerged.
Let radishes sit on your counter for 5-7 days, until the brine goes slightly cloudy and the radishes taste quite tart. When they’ve reached the level of tang you like, remove the quarter pint jar, place a lid on the quart jar and refrigerate.
1 wide mouth quart jar, 1 quarter pint jar
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 16 to 20|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||25%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|