This may very well turn out to be the summer of pickles. It seems like everyone is pickling. Recipes are springing up all over the place, providing instant inspiration. The question I’m asking these days is, “What can’t I pickle?” On long summer evenings, that tangy, cool crunch is the oh, so necessary accompaniment to grilled meats and pasta salads, and a palate-pleasing topper for a lunchtime green salad.
The piles of radishes, bunched up and arranged like bouquets, called to me at the farmer’s market last week. Each bunch had a good solid heft, with abundant greens and colorful, solid radishes. Brandishing my bunch, I handed over my three dollars and made off with the goods.
Once home, I cleaned and cut up the radishes, pausing to snack on a few in the classic French manner: a thick slice of radish topped with a generous swipe of butter and a sprinkle of salt.
Within moments, the radishes were tucked away in jars, resting in their briny bath in the refrigerator. The next day they were ready. The radishes had faded a bit, from vibrant reds to a more muted pink, from a handful of rubies to red agates.
I sampled one, then another. They were crunchy and mildly tangy—the peppery bite of the radishes was actually mellowed by the brine into a bright, vaguely sweet flavor that made me want to keep sampling.
- 1-2 bunches of radishes, depending on size (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp whole peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic
Cut greens and tails from radishes. Wash gently, and cut in half lengthwise (quarter larger ones). Place radishes in a glass bowl or canning jars with peppercorns and garlic.
Stir salt and sugar into vinegar until dissolved, and pour over radishes, ensuring that all are submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Radishes will be ready to eat at this point, but will keep for around a week in the refrigerator. Eat them while they are still crunchy.