Pickled Radishes - Pretty in Pink!

When I was a little girl, my Dad nicknamed me 'pickles'. I am still not really sure why, yet like most nicknames within a loving family home, it was a term of affection. I really didn't need to know where it came from, I just answered to 'pickles'! Fast forward some thirty years or so, and no one calls me 'pickles' anymore, however I find I have developed quite a passion to pickle things!

'pickling is the process of preserving foods by anaerobic fermentation in brine or vinegar, the resulting food is called a pickle, this procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste'

The past month I have been consulting to a local restaurant and cafe, to help them rewrite their menus and introduce some healthier options. One of the dishes I have created for the restaurant menu, included pickled radish, so to test out the flavours of the dish, I decided to pickle some. It was a simple, colourful, tasty delight working with the radishes from my local farmers market and in the end they were so 'pretty in pink'.

Pretty in pink indeed are pickled radishes. Grab a couple of bunches of rosy pink radishes in season and preserve their goodness, crunch and colour for another day. Pickled radishes are the perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, vegetable dishes and curries, and are a delicious match for grilled seafood. Pickling is quite a simple thing to do and the resulting display of colourful jars in your pantry makes it a most rewarding task.

makes 2 x 500ml jars
what you need
350ml apple cider vinegar
1 cup (250ml) filtered water
2/3 cup (100g) rapadura sugar
¼ cup (60g) sea salt or pickling salt
2 bunches radishes
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
2cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

what you do
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan forced). To sterilize the jars, wash well and place onto an oven tray. Put into the oven for 15 minutes, to dry and heat.
2. In a large pot place the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer
for 5 minutes until all the sugar and salt has dissolved.
3. Wash the radishes well, scrubbing gently to remove all dirt and grit. Trim the ends and slice thinly into circles.
4. Remove the jars from the oven. Place the radish slices and an even amount of mustard seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns and ginger slices into the warmed jars.
5. Pour the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving a 2cm gap between top of the liquid and the lid. Wipe the jars with a clean, moist paper towel to remove any spillage, and seal with a lid.
6. You can refrigerate at this point and consume the pickled radishes for up to 1 month. To preserve for a longer period of time, you will require preserving jars with proper two-piece vacuum caps (consisting of a lid and a band). These should then be processed in a hot water bath. Place the jars into a large pot filled with simmering water, covering the jars with 2cm of water. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to a rolling boil, where it is held for the entire processing time of 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove lid. Let sit for 5 minutes then carefully remove the jars (using a jar lifter for safety). Cool for 12 hours.

Note: Test the lids to determine if the jars are vacuum-sealed. Press the centre of the lid to determine if it is concave. Remove the band. Gently try to remove the lid with your fingertips. If the lid is concave and cannot be removed with your fingertips, the jar is vacuum-sealed.

Storage: For vacuum-sealed jars, store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 - 4 weeks before opening, allowing for the flavour to develop. Unopened jars will keep for up to 12 months in the pantry. Once jars are opened or if the jars have not sealed effectively store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

©Jane Grover  
Recipe from Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel