79 radishes. That’s how many I have picked over the last couple of weeks or so. I decided to give these gorgeous pink pearls some special treatment: I’m lacto-fermenting them. For a lot of reasons, I love to lacto-ferment veggies. Mainly, it’s super healthy. In a close second comes the fact that they are so delicious. The flavor is bright, briny (a bit salty), cooling, hydrating… I could go on and on. In essence, lacto-fermentation is simply tightly packing vegetables together into a salt brine in a jar, where after one week or so they transform from simple garden-variety vegetables to empowered little bursts of flavor, texture, and color.
Not only am I teaching a class on fermentation and preservation later this summer, but I promise to post as many recipes as possible in the upcoming months. I currently go between two books to find recipes, but really the process is simple. The book I used for this recipe (Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning) is a small “preservation dictionary” that is a collection of recipes handed down from generation to generation amongst a renowned garden society in France. Each recipe has been offered up by a different gardener. The book has been translated from French, and the format for each is as close to the original recipe and its owner’s hand as possible, so each looks different, and measurements, timing, etc are individual. I love this book, and luckily since I’ve been doing this for awhile, I know when a recipe will help me head in the right direction or not. If you are new to fermentation, I would stick to this book:
The Art of Fermentation
In any case, fermentation is easy and requires very few specialized ingredients or tools. Since my radishes came in first, and most of them ripened all at once, I knew that fermenting them would be the perfect method to use for their preservation. This way, we’ll get to enjoy them all year.
Here’s their story!
Trimmed down and ready to be washed
Here I made sure to pack them in as tightly as possible. Then I filled the jar with my brine solution (ratio: 2 tablespoons pink salt to 1 quart water). The key is making sure they are clean (as clean as possible) and that the jar is freshly sanitized. If you have a tight-fitting lid, open it every few hours to release the gases created (otherwise you’ll have a minor kitchen explosion due to the pressure). After a 1-2 days, you’ll want to add a partially-filled clean ziplock bag with water in it and use it on top of your veggies to hold them down under water. Foam is good. Anything above water will mold, and while this is not necessarily unsafe, it isn’t exactly delectable. Check them after a week to see if they taste the way you want them. Once they are at your desired texture and taste, refrigerate them in the same jar or another with a tight-fitting lid. (They will taste differently than they smell.)
Feel free to add herbs, garlic, or anything else you want to your jar! Fermented dill is delicious!