Pickles take a big space in my pantry and apart from the regular ones (like Pickled Sweet Pepper), I like experimenting with new vegetables or new recipes (my recent discovery, Moomins’ Cucumber Salad was a big hit). When I saw pickled radishes recipe in “Street Café. Japan” by Emi Kazuko I realised I had a big bunch of radishes in the fridge and it was an excellent occasion to prepare these first short-term pickles in my life.
This recipe is based on pickled Japanese turnip (kabu), but the author proposes to substitute it with pink radishes, Western turnips being too tough for this method. Before the pickling process Japanese turnips are often vertically cut in the upper part, which makes them resemble chrysanthemum leaves. According to Emi Kazuko similarly cut pink radishes will resemble cherry blossoms. I have only found oval radishes and I don’t think they produce the desired visual effect, but they do take on a beautiful hue, which slightly reminds me of pink cherry blossoms. The funny looking vertical cuts are very useful: they enable the vinegared mixture to penetrate the interior of the radish.
I loved everything about these pickles: their easiness, the quick pickling time, the beautiful hue, the unusual, surprising look and most of all the amazing taste. They will certainly become my regular spring side dish. I still have to check how they react to long-term pickling.
TIPS: The author advises of course rice vinegar, but since I had several bottles of cider vinegar I usually keep for pickling purposes, I used this one instead. The result was delicious even with basic, cheap cider vinegar.
These pickles can be made with any variety of small pink or red radishes.
Preparation: 40 minutes + one night in the fridge
150 ml rice vinegar (I used 4,5% cider vinegar)
50 ml water
2 flat tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Cut off the radish stalks in the way that a flat base is formed.
Put the radishes flat base down and keeping it with your left hand make 4-5 vertical cuts in the upper 3/4 of each radish.
Turn the radish 90 degrees and make similar cuts.
Put the radishes in a bowl, rub them with the salt and put a heavy object on the top (for example a small plate).
After 30 minutes drain the liquid rendered by the radishes.
Dissolve the sugar in the mixture of water and vinegar, combine with the radishes and put into the fridge for 24 hours.
Pickled radishes keep for at least one week in the fridge.