Pickled Pink Radishes

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


15 radishes

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.


43 Replies to “Pickled Pink Radishes”

  1. Hi Sissi, I love pickling things, but I’m surprised it was already so delicious after just 24 hours? I’ll have to give this a try because I live the sharp tang of vinegar and the delicious crunch of radish… They look really good – thanks for sharing this. I might try it this weekend! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. You know, the Japanese don’t really make long-term pickles… I will certainly try to pickle them and preserve in jars and see what happens after a couple of months. I will write about the results (if edible of course!).

  2. Would you look at those gorgeous pink tulips!!

    If you hadn’t told me they were radish, I’d be running a vase of water with greens for them :). So beautiful Sissi… I’ll have to check out whether our local produce store stocks pink radish…I’m not sure I’ve ever come across them (always seem to see the short red variety). Love this idea! Spring fresh and beautiful…

    1. Hi, Kelly. Thank you so much for the kind words and compliments! I would have never thought of tulips, but you are right! After reading your comment I have just updated the post saying these pickles can be made with any small radish variety. I would have liked to make them with round ones, but I couldn’t find them.

  3. Sissi, upon first glance I thought those were tulip flowers! What a beautiful way to use radishes, the colors are amazing! And isn’t it correct when food looks good to our eyes, somehow they taste better also? I think it’s definitely the case when it comes to desserts!

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno. If it wasn’t for you and Kelly I would have never thought of tulips. I totally agree: beautiful food tastes better.

  4. Simply gorgeous! I love pickled radishes. I agree with Jeno above when I first saw the photo I thought they were tulips also. So lovely! I really like how you plated them.

    1. Thank you so much, Tessa. It was the first time I tasted pickled radishes, but I loved them too.

  5. Your radishes are looking great just like a painting. Love it. I made chrysanthemum flower shaped pickles before using nearly the same recipe and I did use turnips aka navet légumes and I would like to recommend their use. But the cuts were different: much more cuts and the final pickle looked like a pom-pon. Now is the time to buy young and tender navets, just give it a try with small young navets.

    1. Thank you Kiki for such a compliment. I must test the small navets and try doing the chrysanthemum trick. Thank you for the advice.

  6. These are little works of art! I’m enjoying the photo, although I need to warm up to radishes before I’ll try this recipe. I suppose I could always use the radishes decoratively, without pickling. They would look beautiful on so many different summer salads.

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. I remember you told me you didn’t like radishes. I am sure some other vegetables can be pickled the same way although they wouldn’t have this cute pink colour.

  7. Oh Sissi, these pickles are beautiful! I love how you chose the plate and the color of pickles are like sakura!!! Totally cheer me up with this post. I love these pickles. You have been the queen of pickles and preserves and you just did it again! Brilliant~~~~!

    1. Thank you Nami for so many compliments! You have totally cheered me up with your comment 🙂

  8. Mmmm … I love japanese pickles. I used to just devour those yellow pickled daikons! These look so pretty … like a zen garden.

  9. I love simple pickles like this. I make a quick cucumber pickle with a very similar marinade but never thought of using radishes. These look so cute and tasty! I’m definitely going to have to give them a go.

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. I also wondered why I had never thought of pickling radishes…

  10. hi sissi. i have never pickled anything before but i’d love to learn to do radishes and ginger for when i’m cooking japanese inspired dishes. they remind me of little tulips. so cute.

    i’m glad to have found your blog and i’ll be sure to pop over sometime again to see what you’re cooking. feel free to drop by my web-home sometime! x

  11. Oh, this look so beautiful. Is the original radish look white and turned to pink after pickle it? I always love to eat pickles when take meal at Japanese restaurant..

    1. Thank you, Sonia. The radishes were half pink half white and then they turned all pink, but a different hue.

    1. Thank you so much, Sylvia. It was very easy and given my clumsiness, anyone could do it 😉

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