Quick pickled radishes

The word ‘pickle’ tickles my fancy. For starters, it rhymes with ‘fickle’, ‘trickle’ and ‘sickle.’ (Not a word that I have had many chances to use, up until now.) Its origin appears to derive from the Dutch word ‘peckel’ which historically referred to a vinegary brine or spicy sauce, not an actual pickled vegetable. In Britain, a pickle is a relish made of chopped veggies or fruit preserved in vinegar. In the US and Canada, a pickle is widely thought of as a cucumber preserved in brine. In these here parts and in much of my foodie reading, we now seem to refer to pickles as any vegetable that has undergone the pickling process.

Getting ‘pickled’ also alludes to partaking of too many alcoholic beverages resulting in inebriation. Finally, all of this pondering leads me to the delightfully old-school sounding idiom ‘in a pickle’. Meaning to find oneself in a quandary, difficulty, tight spot or jam. (Now this is getting confusing.) Certainly a state that all of us who are undertaking the human experience, find ourselves in at one point or another. When I find myself in a pickle (the idiom, not swimming in a giant bowl of vinegary liquid), nothing soothes my troubled soul as much as spending quality time in the kitchen. Making your own preserves is a highly satisfying process. The radish and myself are good friends. This crisp, peppery root vegetable adds zing to my salads and is a favourite snack when sprinkled with a smidgen of salt. It is also delicious when pickled.

This is a quick pickle, meaning you do not need to sterilise the jars and process them in a boiling water bath to ensure shelf stability. They need to be refrigerated and are at their best when eaten in the first few days after making. These rosy-hued radishes sing with a gentle hum of chilli heat and an earthiness from the Indian spices. To add freshness and zing, pop them in salads, sandwiches, tacos or burgers. Also delicious as a condiment with cured meats, cheeses and alongside curries and casseroles.


1 bunch radishes
1/2 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbl granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Wash the radishes then remove the green leafy tops, the bottoms and any hairy bits. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin (please use the guard and watch your fingers!), slice them very finely and pack them into a jar. I used a medium sized Weck jar that takes about 500ml of liquid.
In a small saucepan, combine all of the other ingredients and cook over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for about ten minutes.
Pour the brining liquid into the jar, ensuring that the radishes are covered with the liquid.
Let the pickles cool down to room temperature then cover, shake or rotate the jar gently to ensure that the spices are coating all of the radishes and refrigerate the pickles for at least 1 day before using.
They can last up to five days but they are at their best and crunchiest for the first few days.
Serve on a salad, alongside curries, as an extra taco condiment, with burgers, as part of a sandwich filling or alongside a sandwich.

Cooking Notes: it is important to use pure sea salt and not table salt as additives can make the pickling liquid cloudy.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a bunch of different recipes.

29 thoughts on “Quick pickled radishes

  1. I love the word pickle almost as much as I love eating pickles ๐Ÿ™‚ Before Miss10 was born we nicknamed her Pickle – nothing to do with cravings as I have scoffed pickles my whole life, but more to do with a pregnancy urine test and nowhere to stash the sample save for an empty pickle jar ๐Ÿ˜‰ #classy

  2. These look and sound beautiful, but I have a thing about all things vinegary, so tend to avoid pickles. I know I’m probably missing a culinary feast, especially with these, but it’s just something my palate doesn’t cope well with; also fermented foods.

  3. I cannot keep pickles (American usage) very long as husband always ‘picks’ at them – yet another play on a very fun word! And I cannot hear the word without thinking of the lyrics to the song: “I don’t want a pickle, just wanna ride on my motor-cicle…”

  4. Love this! I prefer the refrigerator pickles because they are so easy and quick. I think your recipe would work well with turnips too. And what a lovely color is produced in the process! Yet another form of pink which the gentlemen can enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. A.PROMPTreply

    I’ve gotten quite a tickle from your recipe to pickle! Most impressed that you even have shortcuts around otherwise lengthy processes!

  6. This kind of pickling appeals to me because it is quick and easy. I have memories of my mother labouring over pickled beans and cucumbers on hot summer days, jars sterilizing in a cauldron of boiling water, windows steamed over. Yes, this recipe looks easy and yummy!

    • That kind of pickling is intense and super worthy, must have been hot in that kitchen! This really is so much easier and provides some quick zing! (I would love to have a garden that provides all that goodness. Maybe one day!)

  7. What a pickle! Food idioms seem to be making the WP rounds – plum, pie, cake are all with different meanings. Will add pickle to the list. Love this radish pickle – like one I made once with white turnips and beetroot. Easy peasy. Come to think of it, pea idioms might be another one to add to that list.

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