Pickled Radish

Pickled Watermelon Radish

This is a great one to start with if you want to Lacto-ferment some veggies. This type of pickling requires no vinegar, instead it just needs salt water and an anaerobic environment (no air coming into contact with your pickles during the fermentation process) and room temperature. This creates a food rich with Lactobacillus organisms. Lactobacillus bacteria are symbiotic organisms that live in our digestive system and have numerous health benefits. Foods high in these organisms include yogurt, sauerkraut, Kombucha. Lacto-fermented foods are great for dealing with colic, ulcers, digestion problems and more. Plus if done right they are a delish way to preserve winter veggies, as these pickles will keep for up to 4 months in your fridge. For more information about lacto-fermented foods, this is a good source to look at, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/790.html

I like to do small batches of veggies when pickling, as it’s easier to monitor and you get to experiment more without risking turning a whole harvest into something you don’t really like. Most of my friends will use large crocks and make bigger amounts of kraut or Kim chi, then give a quart jar to friends. These are great gifts and delicious, so pick your method and go with it.

For the watermelon radishes we’ve just received I used a basic picking recipe and added some ginger for taste. And with cold season starting up you can’t have too much ginger in your diet.


1 large Watermelon radish

2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons salt


Widemouthed quart size mason jar (washed well)

A drinking glass or glass jar just big enough to fit into the mouth of the mason jar so that there is less than a 1/4 inch space around the glass. (a narrow mouthed 1/2 pint mason jar should work) Check out the photo to get an idea of what kind of set-up you can use.


Cut the top and tail of the radish off. Set it on its flat topside and cut it in half. Slice off the outer skin of each half. You can leave the skin on but it might make for tougher chewing later.

Cut each half into 1/2 inch cubes. Set to one side.

Slice the ginger into paper thin slices. You can peel it if you choose, but these pieces will be so thin it shouldn’t be an issue.

Fill the mason jar with the radish, adding a little of the ginger every few inches. Fill jar to no more that 2 inches from the top.

Put the salt into the drinking glass, and fill with 2 cups tap water. Stir until salt has dissolved, this mixture in the brine that will aid Lactobacillus development and inhibit unwanted bacterial growth. Pour over radishes.

Fill smaller glass with tap water (for weight this time) and place inside pickling jar. Radishes should be pushed down and submerged under water. The brine will spill over the edges, so it’s a good idea to have the pickles on a small plate for the first day.

Set jar somewhere where it won’t be in the way but you can easily check on it, like the back of your kitchen counter or in the pantry. If you notice the brine is not covering the pickles completely, simply mix up more and add it to the jar. The pickles should sit out at room temperature for 3 days to 2 weeks, depending on how strong you want the pickles to taste. I usually do a week at minimum. If you notice any white mold developing on the surface of the water or on the dish, just wipe it off, as long as the veggies are submerged in the brine the fermentation process will be working fine. A positive sign is if your pickles are smelling sour and fragrant. Strong smelling is OK. If however you notice a rancid or rotten smell, that means enough of the vegetable was above water that putrefying bacteria was able to start growing. In this case you should start over. Vegetables fully submerged in brine is key.

Once they have fermented to your liking, remove the glass and put a lid on jar, and put pickles in the fridge. They are a great dish to serve before or after a meal, and will keep in the fridge for several months, though with small batches you will usually use them up much faster than that.

| December 1st, 2012 | Posted in Pickles, Recipes |

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