Pickled daikon & carrot coins

Twenty-eight weeks of CSA deliveries this year, and not a single daikon radish had crossed my cutting board. So when I saw them – a bundle of three, nearly as long as my forearm – in Thursday’s swap box, it was bye-bye, kale.

I shredded half a radish into a slaw, set one aside for an experimental kimchee project, and made pickles from the rest, using one of my favorite brines from Marisa McClellan’s indispensable book, Food in Jars.

Jarred with carrots in a ginger-tinged brine, daikon radishes make a killer pickle.
Jarred with carrots in a ginger-tinged brine, daikon radishes make a killer pickle.

Gingery daikon radish and carrot pickles

I was fairly faithful to Marisa’s recipe, simply scaling it down by a third, bumping up the ginger a bit, and subbing in brown mustard seeds for black (since that’s what I had on hand). Yields four half-pint jars. 

  • 1 lb medium-thick daikon radishes (that was 1-1/2 loooong ones)
  • 1 lb thick carrots (I used 4 short, stocky ones)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 4 tsp pickling salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 small star anise (1 for each jar)
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tsp mustard seeds (I used brown)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Bright colors, bright flavors that add a zip to sandwiches.
Pretty. Zippy. Snappy.

1. Prep 4 half-pint jars (or 2 pints), rings, and lids by sterilizing them in a boiling water for at least 10 minutes or by running them through your dishwasher’s “sanitize” cycle.

2. Give the carrots and radishes a quick scrub, and remove any stray rootlets using a vegetable peeler. I don’t otherwise peel the veggies, but if you want to, to ahead.

3. Whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and ginger in a mid-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil.

I braved the mandoline to get uniform slices.
If you’re brave, use a mandoline to get uniform slices.

4. Meanwhile, slice the carrots and radishes. I like coins, since I’m usually tucking these into a pulled pork sandwich (leftover turkey’s great, too) or Korean tacos, but batons work, too. I suppose you could even shred them, if you’d rather. Whichever you choose, you’ll want to shoot for uniform size – or at least uniform thickness.

5. Place a star anise flower in each jar. Combine the remaining spices in a small bowl, then divide them evenly among the jars.

Star baby
The spice-spiked jars were almost too pretty to fill. Almost.

6. Remove the boiling brine from heat, add the sliced veggies, and stir to combine. Using tongs, carefully load the jars with veggies, packing tightly without overcrowding. Ladle in the hot brine, leaving a half inch of headspace. Poke a bamboo skewer or wooden chopstick around to pop any bubbles. Top off with more brine if you need to after the veggies have settled.

7. Dab off the rims, assemble the lids and rings, and process the jars in a hot-water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and let rest on a folded towel until they’re completely cool. Check the seals. Store any that didn’t fix properly in the fridge and enjoy those first.

If you’re anticipating a turkey sandwich or two in the next week, try layering in a stack of these. You won’t be sorry.

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