If you like mustard, wasabi, or horseradish, you probably enjoy the peppery flavor from a radish. Why lump them together? Because they all contain the same compound that gives them their characteristic bite! Although radishes might be a little more on the mild side of this flavorful group, canning and pickling radishes is a sure delight – and an excellent condiment to use when making sandwiches and salads.
The History of the Radish
Radishes are kind of like the magician of vegetables. Their name, Raphamus, literally means “quickly appearing” and it’s true! If you mark on your calendar when your radishes should be popping up, they’ll be right on schedule and the first of all you garden vegetables. They are also quick to make other things disappear, like constipation or arthritis pains. Sure, you might be thinking “ew” but doesn’t it sound great to heal our bodies naturally when we can?! The Greeks and areas in Asia thought so. They used radishes for a variety of ailments beyond what we might today, including whooping cough and cancer. The Greeks even made gold replicas of the awesome radish.
What Variety of Radish is the Best?
So, what can you do with this spicy, pungent root vegetable, and how do you know which to grow or purchase? Radishes come in an assortment of colors from yellowish to pink, to purple, to grey-black. And they have different root lengths, too! The most common are the small, reddish variety with the white tip, called a sparkler, however the possibilities are nearly endless. So endless that they range from the size of smaller than a golf ball up to 100 pounds! Can you imagine trying to pick a 100-pound radish from the garden? You’ll need more than just a garden shovel!
Here are some common radish varieties:
White Icicle – This pungent, white radish measures 5 to 8 inches in length.
Sparkler – A round, bright red radish with a distinctive white tip; all white inside.
Cherry Belle – This round, red radish is a common variety often found in your local supermarket. It is delicious in salads.
White Beauty – A small, round radish with a sweet, juicy flavor; white inside and out.
French Breakfast – This mild, extra-crunchy, slightly pungent radish is good raw or cooked.
Early Scarlet Gold – A juicy, crispy-tender heirloom variety with a round shape, red skin and white flesh.
Daikon Long White – Daikon are huge radishes that can reach lengths of 18 inches, measuring 3 inches in diameter.
Fire and Ice – Appropriately named oblong radish with bright red on the top half and pure white on the bottom half; sweet, mild and delicate in flavor and texture. This is the one I am holding in the picture of me at the farmers market.
For more unique types of radishes, head over to Gardening Know How here.
Whichever you choose, this simple canning recipe will have your canning and pickling radishes of all varieties! A complimentary mixture of sweet, heat and pepper make this a fan favorite condiment.
Sweet & Spicy Pickled Radishes Canning Recipe
Makes approx. 6 half-pint jars
2 pounds radishes, tops and roots removed and sliced 1/8” thick
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoons canning salt
1 ¼ cups white vinegar
¾ cup raw sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons mixed peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- In a medium saucepan combine water, salt, white vinegar, sugar, red wine vinegar, peppercorns, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes. On medium-high heat, bring to boiling stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Pack radishes into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Ladle hot vinegar mixture into jars being sure to keep the ½ inch headspace. Evenly distribute the peppercorns, seeds and flakes among each jar.
- Wipe each jar rim with a wet washcloth dipped in vinegar. Add lids and rings and hand tighten. Process half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Be sure not to set your timer until the water is at a full rolling boil.
Happy Canning Everyone~
Diane, The Canning Diva®