Friday, May 17, 2013

Farmer's Market Fridays: Radish Pickles and a Window Garden

When it comes to plants, I have a black thumb. Everything green I touch dies. 

When I was in college, I was a plant biology TA. Whenever I went to help a student with their experiment, it would fail because the plants would pretty much look at me and die. It got so bad that one of the professors I worked with asked me to just point at students' experiments and tell them what to do instead of jumping in and giving hands-on help so that they could actually finish their assignments. True story.

This year, I'm trying my hand (again) at an herb garden on my windowsill. I picked up some bedding plants at the Farmer's Market last weekend, so they've had some love and a head start already. It's been a week. So far, so good... Stay tuned on that front.

This is why we (I) need farmers. What farmers do for us is absolutely incredible. So much respect.

This week, I picked up some gorgeous radishes. The farmer I spoke with from Whitewater Gardens Farms told me that they're pretty easy to grow. 

(I don't believe him.)

Last year was not only the first year I attempted to grow anything on my own, but it was also my first summer of pickling and jamming. I scoffed at first, but it's really a lot of fun, super-easy, and then you get to eat delicious farmer's market treats all Minnesota winter long.

 So I pickled some radishes. I found this recipe in Canning for a New Generation, and thought it sounded intriguing.

Of course, these are still pickling, and I probably won't crack them open until winter... But they look so pretty!

Radish Pickles

Adapted slightly from Canning for a New Generation

2 pounds radished, cleaned and tops removed
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

Cut the radishes into 1/4 to 1/8 inch coins. In a medium glass bowl, combine the salt with 3 cups water and stir to dissolve the salt. Plop the radishes in, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, drain radishes in colander and rinse. In a separate pot, combine the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer; add radishes and return to a boil. Remove from heat. Can immediately using a water bath method (great tutorial here),

Makes 1 quart jar or two pint jars.

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