First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day! I am able to enjoy some time with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, as well as good family friends today to celebrate.
Last week I had a couple of precious hours with nothing to do. Instead of lounging with a book on the couch – a regular practice when I have some time to myself – I decided to pickle the radishes from 1,000 Stone Farm that I had bought at the Farmer’s Market the weekend before.
On our first couple of dates, Sawyer quickly learned that I – being a native southwesterner – love spicy foods. I could put jalapeños (or any hot pepper) on anything, and I know quite a few recipes that revolve around jalapeños as the main ingredient. When I pickle vegetables, I like to add a bit of a kick, and my radishes from last week are no exception.
I am not a natural-born cook. For many years, I survived off of toast, cold cut sandwiches, microwaveable cups of ramen noodles and cans of SpaghettiOs. In fact, until recently, I avoided being in the kitchen altogether. But inspiration struck when Sunrise Spot provided me my retro red kitchen countertop and just enough space for Sawyer and I to work side-by-side on a feast for two. Anything with jalapeños in it, I’ve attempted to make, from poppers to salsa to Mexicali pasta with peppers and beyond. I even acquired two cookbooks – The Kinfolk Table and party-perfect bites – that I keep stacked together on top of the refrigerator and I absolutely love making recipes from (if you’re looking for inspiration, my first and favorite recipe thus far from Kinfolk has been spicy basil lemon chicken with Caprese salad on crostini – page 57).
My mother, a little suspicious that the End of Times may be coming up fast what with global warming and potential political leaders rising to power, has a stockpile of old Ball canning jars lying around that she has given me a couple of (you know, just in case). It was a perfect excuse to pickle.
To begin, I only had one bunch of radishes, which makes for a simple recipe.
I mixed red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and mustard seeds in a baggie for when the radishes had been prepared. To prepare the radishes, cut off the stems and any tops they may have and rinse under cold water. I then made thin slices of all the radishes and dumped them into the Ball jar. This is what always takes me the longest, as I’m not all too confident with a knife. Slow and steady is my pace when it comes to chopping, slicing, or otherwise disfiguring the vegetables.
I topped the radishes with my red pepper-fennel-peppercorn-mustard seed mixture and moved to the stovetop, where I had set to boil 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons of Green Mountain Bee Farm honey, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. After about 7-8 minutes of stirring occasionally, the mixture was boiling and I was ready to pour it over my preprepared radishes and spices. Once fully realized, I set the jar uncapped on the counter for a couple of hours at room temperature to let the concoction soak into the skin of the radishes. After those hours had passed, I put the cap on the jar and put the radishes in the refrigerator.
Sawyer and I regularly celebrate “taco Tuesday” with homemade tacos, and these spicy radishes are going to be a brilliant addition for tomorrow’s dinner.
•1 bunch of radishes
•¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
•¾ cup water
•3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
•2 teaspoons salt
•1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
•½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
•Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds
- Preparation of radishes: Slice off the leaves and shoots of the radishes, then use a sharp paring knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar if available. Cover the rounds with red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
- Preparation of brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes. Use a funnel to avoid spills.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature, this should take about two hours given your location and altitude. You can serve the radishes immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickled radishes will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for a week after pickling, approximately.