Late October Treats to Harvest and Preserve from the Garden

If you don’t have a garden, there are plenty of farms that are harvesting an abundance of turnips, carrots, parsnips, beets, rhubarb, chard and a wide variety of radishes.

Radishes are very good for the liver and they act as a powerful detoxifier as well. They are of the Brassica family with a great source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium. Radishes make terrific pickles, and can be fermented into a fiery kimchi with a spicy pickled cabbage. Whether you pickle your radishes so that they’re loaded with probiotics, or give them a gentler taste with an overnight refrigerated pickle recipe, your get all the benefits and nutients these little garden gems bring to the table.

And don’t forget that radish leaves are also beneficial. Use them in salads raw or blend them with garlic and oil for a radish leave pesto.

The advantage of quick pickling (any vegetable) is that your pickles are ready to enjoy in 24 hours. You don’t need a special jar ( think left over jars) or canning equipment. All you need is vinegar, water, sugar or honey, salt, spices, herbs and you’re good to go. A 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar is a good rule of thumb.

This will also will work with baby cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, beets, beans or other vegetables you’d like to quick pickle.

Quick Pickle Radishes
2 pounds radishes (greens removed)
2 sprigs dill leaves or oregano
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (kosher, sea or other coarse non-iodized salt)

Optional add-ins:
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided, or 1 small hot chili pepper

Wash the radishes. Slice off the stem ends and tips. If using watermelon or daikon radishes, peel them. Leave cherry belle and other rosy-skinned radishes unpeeled. Slice the radishes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Smaller radishes simply can be cut in half and very small ones (less than 1 inch in diameter) can be left whole. Divide the dill, garlic, bay leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and optional pepper flakes evenly between two glass pint jars. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe but they should be scrupulously clean.

Pack the radishes in with the spices. To make the brine, bring the water, vinegar, honey, and salt to boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt. Pour the hot brine over the radishes and seasonings. The radishes should be completely immersed in the brine.

Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator. Pickled radishes will be ready to eat in 24 hours and best if you can wait a week before serving them.

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