About This Recipe
Making a brine allows for fermenting larger chunks of vegetables, like these radishes — or whole cucumbers, in the case of the deli staple. Vanilla and saffron both boost other flavors, even in small amounts where they’re not prominent. A little saffron goes a long way, and scraped-out vanilla pods still have a ton of flavor to give. Keeping the food fully submerged in the brine is key.
Radishes, like all their mustard-family cousins, are powerfully health-promoting: full of fiber and phenolic antioxidants that can support your liver and protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fermenting them adds a probiotic component, which may carry significant additional benefits for your gut, immunity, and mood.
Equipment: Digital scale; a 1-quart jar or two 1-pint jars
1 quart Yield
- 1/2 lb (225 g) small whole radishes or larger ones (like daikon), sliced into rounds or cubes
- 30 g salt
- 1 quart (1 L) water
- Small pinch of saffron per jar
- 1 scraped vanilla pod (or 1/8 tsp vanilla seeds per jar)
Step 1Pack the radishes into two pint jars or a 1-qt jar, adding a half or whole scraped-out vanilla pod to each jar. Make a 3% brine by dissolving 30 g of salt into the liter of water. I make about half as much brine as the total jar volume; for a 1-quart jar full of turnips a pint of brine should be enough.
Step 2Take about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of room-temperature brine and add the saffron (and vanilla seeds, if using). Stir well. Divide this brine between the jars, then fill them with the plain brine. Weigh the turnips down, lid the jars loosely, and put them somewhere cool for 2 to 6 weeks — until they’re to your liking.
Substitutions: Any root or firm vegetable takes beautifully to this method
Zero Waste: When the pickles are gone, use the strained brine in marinades and vinaigrettes
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