White radish pickle

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If you really are committed to eating locally, and/or growing your own food then i think you’ve caught on by now that in most of the country root veggies are coming into their own this time of year.

yes i know pumpkins, winter squash, et. al. – but like i said over here you can ‘put up’ winter squash pretty much anywhere for a good 4 months or more if you have a cool place in your house. at around 60 degrees, they’ll sit around quite comfortably getting sweeter by the day. so there is time a’ plenty for squash shenanigans.

now roots on the other hand, they really need it a bit colder to keep for months. most of us, city dwellers in apartments, or with modern cellars with furnaces don’t have the luxury of a proper root preserving cellar like many of our great-grandparents did.

i love the stories my dad tells me of my great-grandparent’s root cellar. he used to go down there as a kid and find much more than roots. he said there were barrels of pickled everything. cukes, eggplants, peppers, eggs…and this is the best part: wine. barrels of homemade wine in the cellar. (sigh)

I am not quite sure that my neapolitan great-grandparents had any pickling experience with white radishes, aka daikon. it seems to be more of an eastern thing.

That, my friends is one of the many reasons i love pickling and preserving so much: pickling is the way we can experience our heritages… because let’s face it, it is a rare one of us who doesn’t have pickling in their family history. that’s what everyone did back then! preserve – and farm. at least to some extent. and that is what makes exploring preserving foodways so rich, because everyone did it, everywhere, it is a way to experience the flavors of the world.

You see, eating locally is the perfect invitation to eating globally. know what i mean? dare i say it… loco-gastro-globavore i had to.

White radish pickle adapted from world of the east vegetarian cooking by madhur jaffrey

2 lbs daikon (2 vary large or 3 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 quart jars

yields: about a quart and a half

1. wash daikon, take leaves and ends off and cut in half lengthwise. slice in very thin slices about 1/16th of an inch. a japanese benriner really helps. i have this one and trust me, it is way better than the more expensive ones. but if you gots mad knife skillz than forget i said anything…

2. bring sugar, salt & vinegar to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. once it reaches boiling, take off heat and pour over sliced daikon.

3. let cool and pour into jar/s. place closed jars in fridge and let sit for 3-4 days before eating.

This is a common condiment at many a japanese restaurant, you may not recognize it because it is sans yellow food coloring here. it is sweet and pungent. and when you open the jar it will smell like it just committed an excusable act. but that will dissipate quite quickly.

A little goes a long way. it goes perfectly of course, on the side of any japanese inspired meal, or a salted, grilled fish. for a quick lunch it is the cherry on top of a bowl of brown rice with a chopped hard boiled farm-fresh egg and a splash of soy, with or without a bit of stir fried greens.

It is a quick pickle and not enough acid to seal in a hot water bath and store at room temperature. so you will need to keep it in the fridge where it will last for months and months. you can easily 1/2 the recipe on your first time out. enjoy!

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