Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shopping for a Mystery

Sometimes I see something at the grocery store that I've never used before and decided to try it. The black radishes at Whole Foods definitely caught my eye.
Ugly, dark, rooty things. So ugly they were beautiful. I was sad my radishes didn't have any leaves still attached. Still I purchased a few. To be honest I bought them because I hoped they were black all the way through much like a beet is solid red. Instead I learned that only the skin is black, almost like someone colored a turnip with one of those big fat black lead pencils some of us of a certain age used in grade school. The flesh is creamy white. In my research I learned that they were often grown to be a winter storage vegetable. They apparently hold their flavor and freshness remarkably well. The taste of a black radish depends on when it was harvested. Freshly pulled from the ground and your black radish can have quite a bite. However the longer they store, the milder they get. But what to do with the ones I had now?

I googled a bit to see what my choices were. Pickings were slim. Mostly salads. The always excellent Chocolate & Zucchini had some interesting preparations. One in fact I want to try in the future sounded delicious, Chips de Radis Noir. However I wanted to see if I could soften up that strong bitter bite. Why not pickle them? I made a simple brine of white vinegar, water, sugar, ginger, pickling spice and salt heating the mixture just enough to dissolve the sugar. Next I layered my carrots and radish in jar while the brine cooled down. Once the layering was complete and the brine was cool enough to go into the jar, the brine was ladled to cover the veggies and popped into the fridge. I'll let you know how it turned out once it marinates overnight.


MakingSpace said...

It's gonna be delish! Pickled radishes, yuuuummmmmm!!!!

Dani said...

I've never come across these before. I might have to hunt down some seeds today and give them a try in the garden.

Big Shamu said...

I'm a huge pickle/olive fan so I think these are going to be good.

Dani, not sure where you normally get your seeds but found one source here:

Dani said...

Thanks a lot Sham!

What's the fridge life when you pack something in brine?

Big Shamu said...

The recipes I read say a week to three weeks. That will also be part of the experiment, how long Shamy can keep eating the pickles out of her fridge before making herself sick.

Buzz Kill said...

I wonder if you could leave the brine hot and can them in a mason jar. That would allow the radishes to mellow for months. I like the way they layer in the jar with the carrots (looks like you used a mandolin). Cucumbers would probably work in there too.
The chip recipe sounds interesting but I'm having a tough time imagining the taste. I'm thinking something like a vinegary water chestnut.

LaDivaCucina said...

I've been enjoying watching Hubert Keller on PBS on Saturdays. This week he did pickled veggies for a charcuterie plate: DIVINE!

Also remember seeing black radishes in my CSA last year. Searched their archived newsletters and found this:

Once the CSA starts I'll be overcome with all types of radish, including daikon. Must admit, not my favorite veggie and am wondering how creative I can be this season!

Big Shamu said...

Buzz, I'm sure I could hot brine them but since I only bought four medium size radishes I wasn't go through the whole hot canning process. Not sure if they will mellow up if they sit in a brine for a longer period of time. I think you have to start out with the older radishes. We'll see. I did use a little inexpensive mandolin but gave up when the blade dulled a bit. Then I just cut them.

La Diva, I'm glad to see Keller on PBS. Seems like the more serious chefs work their shows there as opposed to FN. I hadn't ever thought about radishes much past plopping them into a salad or eating them raw with a little sea salt. But boring is meant to be pushed. I admit pickles are not really pushing but you gotta start somewhere.

LaDivaCucina said...

Sham, at least you push your own boundaries. That's why I love the CSA, FORCES me to push my boundaries!