2/27/2015

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

How gorgeous are these radishes? Finding watermelon radishes at the local farmers marker is sure sign spring is just around the corner. These peppery pink beauties are delicious chopped up on salads, in soups or as we’re about to dive into today, pickled!

Watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon. They are a root vegetable and member of the Brassica (mustard) family with arugula, broccoli and turnips. Look for these radishes with green on the outside, this means they are higher in chlorophyll which is an excellent blood cleanser. Watermelon radishes are peppery, a bit sweet at times and mild compared to other radishes. They range in size and are available in early spring and fall.

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Root vegetables make delicious and healthy pickles. There are several ways to pickle. I’ll share my two favorite. One is the quick pickle method which I love to do in summer with cucumbers and other veggies. The other way is the traditional method which requires submerging the food in brine and allowing it to ferment for 2 days – 4 weeks depending on the food of choice and the temperature. Quick pickles are great because they are super easy to make and are ready in 24 hours. They don’t however have all of the amazing enzymatic and probiotic value that comes from fermentation.

Fermented foods are a staple in my diet. They are excellent to aid digestion, help balance our intentional flora and add tangy goodness to anything they come in contact with. If you are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant I suggest making fermented foods part of your life. They are incredibly beneficial for you and your baby. It is well documented that what babies eat  in the womb creates their tastebuds. If you love fermented foods and consume them while pregnant it is highly likely your child will be hardwired to enjoy this healing food as well.

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Over the last year I have shared several of my favorite fermented recipes like my lavender sauerkraut and preserved lemons. If you haven’t jumped on the fermentation train now is the time. This Pickled Watermelon Radish recipe is fool proof and is ready in a matter of days! I know for some of you there is still tons of snow on the ground. Book mark this recipe now and enjoy it come spring time ;)

When fermenting it is good practice to sterilize your jars – you want to use glass unless you have a fermenting crock. To sterilize just place them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Super easy. They can cool on the counter before adding ingredients. Always use tongs to get the glass jars out of the boiling water and use caution! Feel free to sterilize the lids while your at it. While it’s not 100% necessary it’s a great way to make sure they are clean.

I prefer making smaller batches of these foods so I use Mason or Weck jars. Over the years I have discovered that Mason jars are better for longer ferments and Weck for shorter. Experiment and see what you like. One day I’ll get a crock for sauerkraut but I haven’t found it necessary yet as I supplement my sauerkraut with some that is made locally. I love supporting local fermenting businesses and tasting their creative variations, it keeps me inspired.

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

If you have a mandoline it makes life easy for making slices uniform. It speeds up the slicing process and makes a great kitchen tool. I use mine often or when I’m feeling too lazy to put my knife skills to work ;) You can even get a ceramic one to start. Be sure to get a glove too. I’ve nipped many a finger on metal and ceramic mandolines over the years, and some of the best advice I got in culinary school was to wear a glove! Common sense for most of you I am sure but I am stubborn at times and need to learn the hard way.

If you want to add spices to your radishes I suggest fermenting in two jars. This way you can try different spices in each one to see what you like best. I played around with my jars. One I added a few big pinches of black peppercorns, coriander seeds and mustard seeds. To the other I added celery, coriander and fennel seeds. Both flavors are delicious. These spices are totally optional. You are welcome to make yours with just the brine and they will be very tasty!

Pickled Watermelon Radishes by Ashley Neese

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

Ingredients //

  • 4 c. filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 lbs. water melon radishes
  • Coriander seeds, black peppercorns, celery seed, red chili flakes, fennel seed (optional). I’d add 1 tsp. of whatever spices you want to use

 

Equipment //

  • Sterilized glass jars for fermenting
  • Pickle weights (optional but very useful!)

 

Method //

Warm the water on the stove in a small pot. Pour in the salt and stir until dissolved. Cover and allow to cool. Wash the radishes and slice into 1/8 inch thick rounds. Add the slices to your clean jars with enough room for the weight and cover with brine. Add spices if using. Make sure the radish slices are completely submerged in the brine. This prevents them from spoiling. Gently place the weight on top to help release air bubbles.

Cover and close jar loosely. Place a plate under the jar for spillage as it starts to ferment and allow to ferment on the counter for 2-7 days. Taste the radishes after 36 hours and if they are ready stick them in the fridge to prevent further fermentation. If they are not ready leave them on the counter and taste again in a day or two. Radishes can get funky really quickly so be sure to keep an eye on them. While I don’t mind the smell of super fermented foods it can be too much for some if you’re not used to it.

Radishes will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

 

Can’t wait to hear how your radishes turn out! Have a great weekend!

xoa

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