Last week, I reported that I was feeling a little lackluster kitchen-wise and thoroughly tired of winter. Well, I’m happy to report that things are looking up and its all thanks to pickles. Quick pickled carrots and radishes, that is.
Recently, I was browsing the display of root vegetables at the Fair Food Farmstand, looking to see if there was anything that might tickle my canning fancy, when I spotted baskets of brightly colored carrots and vividly green radishes (I do believe they belong to the daikon family).
At $5 a pound, they were more expensive than my average pickle ingredients, but it had been so many months since I’d felt so immediately moved and energized by an ingredient that I was more than willing to pay up.
Once home with my pricey roots, I washed them well, sliced them thinly on a mandoline, and tossed them with a little sea salt and granulated sugar. This helps draw out some of the water and make room for the vinegar to take up residence. Then I let them sit for about an hour, until the slices looked damp and seemed quite pliable.
After a quick rinse and a vigorous shake, into a simple brine they went. My hope was to mimic the pickles that are so often served as garnish at Vietnamese restaurants, so I stayed simple with unseasoned rice wine vinegar, honey, water, and just a touch of salt (I know I started by salting the pickles, but by the time the carrot and radish slices hit the brine, most of that salt has been rinsed away. And unsalted pickles taste flat).
The pickles only stayed on the stove long enough to just heat through. Then I funneled them into jars and let them sit on the counter until they were cool enough for the fridge. They are both brightly flavored and just so darn pretty (though the purple carrots did bleed their color once they were in the jar and so over time, all those multi-colored roots have turned a near-uniform red).
I gave one jar of these pickles away and have eaten most of the second jar tossed into salads of baby arugula and made into little stacks with slivers of cheddar cheese. It’s been fuel for plugging away on a cookbook and dreaming of warmer days.
- If you can’t find green daikon radish, you could easily use the more readily available white variety. If you can’t find that, sub in any radish that you can put your hands on.
- This is a refrigerator pickle because it tastes best that way. While you could process it in a water bath canner, the texture won’t be as good.
- 1 pound multi-colored carrots
- 1 pound green radish (daikon or conventional red radishes will also work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Wash carrots and radishes well and pat dry.
- Using a mandoline, thinly slice the vegetables into rounds of uniform thickness.
- Sprinkle slices with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Toss to combine and let sit in a cool place for one hour.
- When the time is up, pour vegetable slices into a colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine rice wine vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Bring to a boil.
- Once the brine boils, add veg. Stir and cook just until the brine returns to a simmer.
- Funnel pickles into prepared jars and apply lids. Let cool.
- When pickles are at room temperature, place in the fridge. Let them sit for at least 24 hours before eating.