Radish Refrigerator Pickles

July 7th, 2010 / Comments 5

Lynda was our first houseguest when Charles and I moved to Vermont. It was our first November in Vermont and we were naïve flatlanders learning about wood stoves, wells and cows everywhere.

cow c egbert Radish Refrigerator Pickles

Lynda had been living in the Northeast Kingdom for ten years and was an old Vermont hand. At breakfast on Saturday morning, she suggested that we go to the Red Flannel Hash supper at the Woodstock Unitarian Universalist Church that evening. I assumed that red flannel was the dress code because I had been told that it was important to be visible to hunters when walking in the woods and I was pretty sure that it was hunting season. Lynda patiently explained that red flannel was a type of hash and that I could wear whatever I chose. It was at that dinner that I learned how important pickles could be.

We sat at a long table with seven strangers and were served plates piled high with hash and a scoop of baked beans. Red flannel hash, an amazing magenta really, is a mixture of ground beets, potatoes, cabbage and corned beef. Along with bread and butter, there was a bowl of pickles in the center of our table. Red flannel hash is an acquired taste – one I hadn’t acquired. I did my best with it and used a chunk of crispy, sweet/sour pickle as a chaser after each forkful. I soon gave up on the hash and focused on the pickles, commenting with delight on their flavor each time that I asked that the (much too small) bowl be refilled. As pie was served I was introduced to the woman sitting at the end of the table. Her name was Alice and her hazel eyes sparkled as she told me that she had made all of the pickles for the supper.

pt v radishes c egbert Radish Refrigerator Pickles

You can download a label for your pickles here.

Although I don’t make red flannel hash, I make pickles of all sorts. Rather than preserving quarts of cucumbers with vinegar and dill, I make small quantities of refrigerator pickles with vegetables and fruits that are in season. Refrigerator pickles are ready to eat in six hours, require no cooking, do not need to be heat processed and the possible combinations are limited only by the varieties of vinegar, sugar, herbs and spices in the pantry. I made four different kinds of pickles to take to a fourth of July picnic. Here’s how I did it:

Pickled Radishes

I put one pound of radishes, minus the tops and tails and cut into quarter inch slices, into a large bowl and tossed them with one tablespoon of kosher salt. I added enough ice water to cover and then set the radishes aside. Two hours later, the radishes had softened slightly and after I had rinsed and dried them, I packed them into a one-pint jar.

I simmered one cup of cider vinegar, three-quarters of a cup of sugar, half a teaspoon of whole black pepper, one teaspoon of celery seeds and one teaspoon of mixed pickling spices for three minutes. I poured the hot pickling liquid over the radishes, put the lid on the jar and, when it had cooled to room temperature, I put it into the fridge for six hours before serving.

The mixed pickling spices had bits of dried red chili that gave the finished radish pickles a pleasant hit of heat.

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• 5 Responses to “Radish Refrigerator Pickles”

  • Lynn says:

    I’ve just started to get into preserving and pickling. Curious how long your version of pickled radishes will last in the refrigerator? Have you changed your process since posting this?

    I recently made a version without your first salt step. They seem to be doing fine in the fridge 4 weeks later, albeit have a very strong sour pickle taste!

  • I don’t know if I like red flannel hash or pickled radishes, but I know I like the way you write about food, mixing humor and pieces of your life together into a delightful concoction. If your cooking is anything like your writing, it must be good (and I happen to know that it is!) And I also like the way you paint. So, if I were going to try the pickles, which I am not, I would definitely download a label. This is a delicious blog. Kudos to the chef!

  • Lucia says:

    I was just thinking of trying this and here is the recipe!
    If the heat breaks and I start cooking again I will try this.

  • Drick says:

    now this just sounds great Carol, don’t think I have had a radish pickle, only in a mix maybe – I too love refrigerator pickles ’cause they are so easy, can do them in small batches but that maybe is the flip side, they just don’t last long enough….

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