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You Can Pickle That: Radishes

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jul 1, 2013 3:00PM

Now that summer's bounty is finally upon us, it's time to start preserving full speed ahead. There are so many wonderful options for pickling and canning, and don't be fooled by the fact that cucumbers haven't hit yet; there are still plenty of things to stick in jars. Today: radishes.

Lots of people have never tasted a pickled radish before, and recipes can be a bit tough to find, especially if you are looking for a real canning project (and not refrigerator pickles). Like cucumbers, radishes are firm, mostly water and without a super strong flavor of their own, so they are an ideal palate for whatever favors you chose to use in your brine.

With a little help from friends on Twitter, we invented a recipe that combines juniper berries, mustard seed, garlic and a basic pickling mix (ours is from The Spice House). Taking a page from Paul Virant's book The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, we used champagne vinegar, though many recipes call for apple cider vinegar. Next time!

A couple of accumulated tips from our canning adventures thus far. First, always make extra brine. It's cheap and easy, and not a crime to throw a little away. On the other hand, scrambling to make more while jars are half full and pots are boiling is a recipe for burns and mess. Trust us, we screw up so you don't have to. Also, try to have a few extra pieces of whatever you are pickling in reserve. Often, extra space appears in a jar you thought was full when you start to fill it with brine, and its nice to be able to wedge in a little more produce.

A note on radishes. You can pickle any variety, but we wanted large, snackable chunks rather than thin sandwich slices. Aim big. Plus, if you can find French Breakfast radishes (those long, thin ones) buys bunch—they are perfect for filling extra jar space.

Pickled Radishes
3-4 bunches of radishes, scrubbed and cut into large wedges
1.5 cups champagne vinegar
1.5 cups water
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1.5 tsp mustard seed
6 juniper berries
2 tbsp kosher salt
Pickling mix of your choice (optional)

Put a very large pot of water on to boil.

Clean and sterilize the jars of your choice (we used three pint jars per batch). Once the jars are ready, put one clove of garlic, half a teaspoon of mustard seed, 2 juniper berries and the pickling spice of your choice into each jar. If you are using a premise pickling mix, follow the instructions for the amount to add.

Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Preferably using a funnel, pour the brine into each jar, adding more radishes if there is space or if things start to float. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar and seal.

Process in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Let them cool overnight, then test the seal, discarding or re-processing any that failed to seal. Label and enjoy in about four weeks.