Friday, July 17, 2009
Every year I have quite the supply of radishes at the beginning of summer. It’s the first thing that will sprout in the garden and I tend to get a little overzealous tucking radish seeds into every spare nook and cranny. I like radishes in my salads, but after a while, I really have to find something to do with the huge supply, especially when they’re getting large and overgrown in the garden because I can’t use them up fast enough.
When in doubt, pickle. That seems to be my mantra in the garden this year. Pickle or can everything in sight, so it can be enjoyed later in the year, when the best days of my garden are behind me for the season. My tomatoes are just starting to come in, but I’m already looking forward to making tomato jam and paste to put away for fall when I’m lamenting the all-too-short tomato season.
With the radishes I decided that rather than canning, I would whip up a quick brine and keep a jar of pickled radishes tucked in the fridge for a week (that’s about as long they will last without canning or preservatives) for intermittent snacking. We ended up devouring most of these during a BBQ with friends. They were great on burgers as well as on their own on the side.
If you have a favorite brine recipe, by all means use it and please share it with us! In a pinch you can even use a pre-packaged jar of brining spices. Though I prefer to make my own concoction of mainly mustard and coriander seeds, I was out of both and not wanting to run to the store, I settled for a pre-made blend I had at home. I recommend taking the time to go through and pick out come of the cloves and anything else you’d rather not include. The cloves would have overwhelmed the flavor of this batch of pickles.
Makes about 4 cups (I had a lot of radishes to use up, feel free to reduce this recipe)
5 bunches store bought radishes or a good pile from your backyard*
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 T kosher salt
1/4 cup brining spices, picked over to remove cloves
2 dried bay leafs
Jar large enough to hold the radishes
*The amount of radishes is intentionally not precise – at the end of the process, you will simply pour over enough brining liquid to cover what you have.
Rinse the radishes and slice thinly using a mandoline and set aside. Combine the next seven ingredients in a saucepan and bring barely to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly (for about 10 minutes). Place the radishes in a jar and pour in enough brining liquid to cover. Discard remaining liquid. Place the jar of radishes in the refrigerator and let sit for a day (if you can wait that long). These pickles will last about a week in the refrigerator.