Radishes are the first vegetable I ever fermented (I’m pretty sure) and they are also a classic that I try to keep on hand because they are infinitely gobble-able. I CANNOT get enough of that flavor. It’s seductive and it is the flavor I’m thinking of when I get cravings for fermented vegetables. They have a strong smell while fermenting, so be aware of that, but unlike the pungency of say, broccoli or cauliflower ferments, I don’t find this smell to be off-putting; it actually makes me drool a little.
I recommend starting your fermentation adventure with radishes because radishes just love to be fermented. I think it’s difficult to get them wrong, and that the end result is so transformed and delightful, they’ll get you hooked right into a lifetime fermentation habit! (Always my evil plan, of course.) The exception? If you hate radishes, maybe give something else a try first. But for anyone who likes them, I feel comfortable telling you that you won’t be disappointed.
I ferment radishes of all kinds, and they all ferment gorgeously. It doesn’t matter if they’re fall Asian radishes, French radishes in the spring, or the beautiful cherry-tinted globes I can get almost all year long. They all love to be fermented, and reward they reward their fermenter with an effortless, versatile treat.
I like to do them as slices so I have lots of options on how to use them once they’re pickled. I toss them into salads, top cold summer soups with them, savor them plain, use them as veggie crackers for amuses-bouches, put them on cheese boards or spread them with a little cultured butter for a très Paleo/WAPF snack. The possibilities are endless if you need a little bit of flavor!
Yields one pint of sliced radish pickles
- 8 oz. (230 g), 2 small bunches round radish bulbs
- 3/4 teaspoon (5.75 g) coarse salt
- 1/2 cup (120 g) filtered water
- Wash the radishes and cut out any soft or unsightly parts. Do not peel. Trim the ends.
- Slice the radishes into 1/4 inch (1 cm) rounds. Place them in a widemouthed pint jar.
- Mix salt into room temperature water until dissolved. If you’re using a mineral-rich rock salt, all of the solids may not dissolve and that’s okay.
- Pour brine over the radishes, leaving a 1/2 inch or more of headspace. Place a weight in the jar, or use a smaller jar full of water to keep your radishes submerged. You may want to place the weight in the jar over the sink to ensure that an excess brine doesn’t overflow. Make sure that there is a thin layer of water over the top of the radishes, and that there is a little space between the water level and the rim of the jar. If your jar is too full, time to munch a couple raw radish slices to bring it back down to normal.
- If your selected weight fits in the jar, place the jar lid on top, and secure but don’t tighten it. You want to leave room for the carbonation to escape. If the weight you’re using rises above the rim of the jar, use a clean kitchen cloth secured to the jar with a rubber band to cover.
- Allow your jar to sit at room temperature for 6 days. Take a taste. If the pickles don’t seem sour enough, re-cover the jar and let them sit for a few more days or as long as 2 weeks total. Once they’re to your liking, remove the weight, secure the jar lid and place the jar in the refrigerator. Enjoy your radish pickles plain or as suggested above!
Want more radish ferments?
Try Banh Mi Pickles