Spring Recipe: Pretty-in-Pink Pickled Radishes

These radishes started out bright red on the outside, and snow white on the inside — but quickly turned a lovely shade of pink after a few hours in their pickling solution. So pretty and delicious and easy to make! Read on for the recipe.These are Japanese-style pickles, with a well-balanced sweet/sour flavor and a satisfying crunch. While red radishes aren't traditional, they are similar in taste and texture to the daikon radish and the turnip, which are more classic choices.

One thing to be warned about, though, if you aren't used to pickled radishes: they may be pretty, but they can have a funky smell to those who are unfamiliar with them. If you grew up eating them or are an adult convert (like me) you won't notice this so much, but newbies usually are a little surprised. But like other distinctly odorous delicacies such as washed-rind cheese and fish sauce, once you've tasted them you won't want to stop eating them. At least that's what happens to me!

You can store the pickles in glass jars, plastic containers or any non-reactive metal container, provided they have a decent fitting lid.

Pickled Red Radishes

3/4 cup hot water (can be from the tap)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 bunches red radishes, rinsed and drained

Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a large jar, cover with a lid and shake it up until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Alternatively, you can stir them in a non-reactive (glass, ceramic, stainless) bowl. Set aside.

Remove the greens from the radishes and reserve for another use. Quarter the radishes. Smaller radishes can be halved and larger ones may need to be cut into sixths. You'll want them to be roughly the same size.

Pack radishes into your container of choice, cover with the brine and then the lid, and place in the refrigerator. Let sit at least 3 days before enjoying (although they can be eaten sooner.) They should last for a month in the refrigerator, although I have yet to test that theory!

Pickled radishes are a great condiment, accompanying all sorts of asian dishes. They can be served as a first course to whet the appetite, on a relish tray, or as a side with a sandwich.

Related: On Growing Radishes

(Image: Dana Velden)

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