If radishes were in a beauty pageant, they’d nail the looks category. They’re truly beautiful vegetables with their vibrant, hot pink skin, china-doll white flesh and ruffly green leaves. But when it comes to the talent portion of the evening, the judges may shift uncomfortably in their seats as Miss Radish struggles to prove her versatility.
Radishes are most commonly eaten raw. The French love them with a thick spread of expensive unsalted butter and a touch of sea salt, making them the easiest, prettiest hors d’oeuvre ever. Radishes can add a mustardy crunch to salads and will look stunning sliced thinly on top of a fish taco. But unless you’re making a lot of fish tacos, you’re unlikely to use a whole bunch of radishes in one sitting. And then you’re left with at least a few pink spheres rolling around in your vegetable drawer, destined to lose their crunch.
Making a batch of quick pickles will help extend the life, and the usefulness, of that bunch of radishes, which is sure to impress those pageant judges.
Quick pickling is my favourite way to preserve vegetables. It has all the warm, fuzzy, do-gooder feelings of big-batch preserving, but with none of the hassle. You just chop the vegetables and place them in a jar with some spices, bring a vinegar solution to the boil, pour the brine over the veggies, pop the jar in the fridge and wait 24 hours. Now you have pickles. Pickling radishes has the added bonus of cheering you up every time you open the fridge, because you have a jar of rosy-red, happy-looking pickles greeting you.
Now that you have pickled radishes, you can add them to burgers or tacos. You can dice them and mix them with mayonnaise, shallots and tuna for a sandwich filling, or just add a layer of pink discs to a ham and cheese baguette. You can serve them with cheese and crackers or add them to salads. They’ll last at least a month in the fridge, so you have plenty of time to use them.
Small Batch Quick Pickled Radishes
- 1 bunch of radishes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 peppercorns
- Optional spice: 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or coriander seeds or mustard seeds
Wash your radishes really well, top and tail them, then slice them thinly (a mandolin makes this much easier).
Place the radishes in a pint jar with the peppercorns and spices (if using).
In a small saucepan bring the vinegar, water, honey and salt to the boil. Pour the brine over the radishes in your jar.
Allow the jar to cool then place it in the fridge to pickle. It will be ready to eat in 24 hours, will taste even better in 2 weeks, and should be eaten within a month.