May 24th, 2012
Quick, my radishes are in a pickle! Or should I say, my quick pickled radishes? Eh—you say to-may-to, I say to-mahhhh-to. Either way, this recipe is summer heaven in a jar.
I wouldn’t have always described radishes as heavenly. The truth is I’m a recent fan of the root gems. It was only three years ago that I turned the corner on radishes, after spontaneously buying a bunch—just because they looked pretty—to reluctantly make a delicious Tangy Wilted Cucumber & Radish Salad.
After that, I became obsessed with all radishes wilty and tangy; vinegar tames the vegetable’s bite in the only way that seemed right. Slowly over time, though, I developed a taste for radish’s peppery edge. I suppose that all the raw nibbles and bites stolen while preparing brines and dressings did the job. And, eventually, I found that my favorite way to eat radishes was whole with nothing more than softened butter and big flakes of sea salt.
I recently returned to the place where I first fell in love with radishes—I quick pickled a bunch as a side for grilled skirt steak tacos—and remembered the magic that radishes, vinegar, salt and sugar make when lovingly combined. I remembered why I fell in love with radishes in the first place.
If you already love radishes, I hope that this recipe is for you, too, another reminder of why you love them so. Or at least that it’s one more thing you can do with the veggie now that it is abundant in the farmer’s market.
If you don’t love radishes, I hope that you’ll try this with an open heart. You just might fall in love. And, hey, if you don’t, these pickles keep in an airtight jar for up to a month, plenty of time to pass them along to your favorite radish lover. Because different strokes for different folks. After all, you say to-may-to, I say to-mahhhh-to.
Varied taste experiences are important to the healthy development of taste buds and food preferences. Sharing natural pickles of all kinds with early eaters old enough to manage finger foods (about 10 months and up) is a great way to excite their palates. Hand over one slice of pickled radish, a cucumber pickle or a super tangy cornichon and grab your camera. In addition to snapping a funny photo, you’ll witness an important awakening of your little one’s taste buds. If your babe is too young to bite into a thin slice of radish, dip a clean finger into the cooled brine and let them taste.
Quick Pickled Radishes
(can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
makes about 1 pint jar full of pickles
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 allspice berries
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh radishes, washed, trimmed & thinly sliced
1. Combine all ingredients except for the radishes in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times along the way. Take off of the heat once the mixture begins to boil and all of the salt and sugar has dissolved. This is your brine.
2. Place radishes in a jar and pour the brine over them. You can keep the whole spices and bay leaf in the jar, too, if you like. Allow to cool, uncovered. Once the brine is room temp or cooler, seal the jar and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. These will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
*Note: These are safe for any child already managing finger foods of a similar texture. They are big on flavor, though, so don’t be surprised if you’re little one isn’t into them at first. Even so, natural pickles of all kinds are a safe, great way to give your small eater a flavor experience!