With the winter season has come a slightly shrunken garden. I have some winter crops growing (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, peas) but none of them have produced much of anything yet, except my radishes. They were ready for harvest last weekend, poking their red heads out of the ground for a couple weeks until I yanked them out of the soil and saw how long they’d actually gotten, which was pretty long. I have a longstanding love with the radish, as is evidenced by this fun little short film I made when I was just a wee teenager. Nowadays the radishes I prefer to grow are of the French Breakfast variety, which means they’re tall and skinny with a bright crimson coloring and cute little white bottoms.
But last week’s harvest was small. There were only two of them, to be precise, and I wasn’t sure what to do with just two radishes. I could eat them fresh, sure, but I wanted to make them last a bit longer. So I decided to make an incredibly small batch of pickled radishes, using only two radishes and an 8-ounce mason jar. I used a basic pickling recipe borrowed from David Lebowitz’ pickled radish recipe, and after about an hour of prep and canning I had a nice little jar of pickled radishes. I let them sit for a week and then used them an a garnish on some tacos I’d made last night. Wonderful! Tangy, crunchy, juicy, and slightly spicy, they added just the right amount of complementary flavors and textures to the rich and meaty pulled pork tacos. I think they’d make a tasty sandwich or salad topping, too!
Thoroughly rinse the radishes with water. Peel them, cut off the green top and small root bottom, and then cut them into 1/8 inch thick slices. Place in the mason jar with the dried chili and garlic cloves.
Heat the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and peppercorns in a small pot until the mixture begins to boil and the salt and sugar dissolve into the liquid. Remove the pot from the heat and pour its contents into the mason jar, leaving 1/4 of an inch of head space.
Tightly screw on the cap. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then label the jar with the date it was made and refrigerate it. I recommend letting it pickle for 5 days before using, but make sure to eat the contents within one month of the date they were pickled.