Friends of mine tell me stories of their mothers and grandmothers slaving away, over large pots, waiting for the “POP” of a Ball jar lid, the summer heat no match for the steam of a kitchen in full canning mode.
I have no such stories. While I’m sure both my grandmothers canned food in their lifetime, I never learned the art.
I have, however, had the pleasure of eating many canned goods provided by generous friends and friends’ grandmothers. My favorite canned good is the pickled beet. I could eat them all day, on salads or as a snack and often make vinaigrette with the bright pink pickling liquid.
While I didn’t receive any beets in my CSA box from Lancaster Farm Fresh last week, a trio of root vegetables greeted me–carrots, turnips, and black radishes. The carrots and turnips are easy to use, but black radishes? I’ve never had them, and I’m more familiar with the pretty reddish-pink variety I grew in my garden last year. These black radishes looked like beasts in comparison. I was at a loss for what to do with them, but then those pickled beets came to mind.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at food preservation for a while now, so I decided to make quick pickled black radishes. While I didn’t slave away in the kitchen over hot pots waiting for that “POP” of the Ball jar, I did take the time to pack them tightly with vinegar and spices. And they’ll keep in the fridge for a month.
I would say that my first attempt at one form of food preservation was a success, giving me a confidence boost for when I can summer tomatoes for the first time. I can’t wait to try these picked black radishes on my Asian Short Rib Tacos or on this Vietnamese sandwich. They are earthy, spicy, and pickled to perfection.
Pickled Black Radishes
5 black radishes, sliced thickly
1 small yellow onion, sliced (also from my CSA)
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus a bit more
3 teaspoons (local) honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 dried chile pepper, cut in half lengthwise (my chile was from Peppermeister, my pepper hero. If you want to trade seeds with him or receive some of his extra special seeds in the mail, check out this post.)
After slicing the radishes, place them in a colander and salt them with a little kosher salt.
In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, salt, and honey to a boil, until salt and honey are dissolved. Remove from heat and add the crushed peppercorns, garlic, and chile.
Pack the sliced radishes and onion in a clean quart-sized jar, and pour the hot liquid over them, making sure to pack the garlic, chile, and all those crushed peppercorns into the jar, too. Cover and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Eat within a month.