This is one of the ways that we like to preserve the seasonal harvest for later enjoyment. Lacto-fermented watermelon radishes are probiotic and so delicious, and they also are so beautiful. This recipe uses no vinegar, just veggies, salt, water, and time.
We love them in salads but check out the Extra! below for another creative and delicious way to use them.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Lacto-fermentation Time: 30 – 60 days
Note: The length of time will depend entirely on the level of sourness you like in your pickles.
Yields: 1 half-gallon (here) or mix of pint and quart jars
- 2 bunches watermelon radishes (about 10 small to large)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp per half-gallon jar
- 2 tsp per quart jar
- 1 tsp per pint jar
- Distilled water
- Wash all containers and tools really well in hot soapy water, rinse with hot water, and allow to air dry.
- If you have watermelon radish with greens cut off the greens and reserve. These may also be lacto-fermented but separately.
- Wash, dry the radishes, cut away and discard the leaf tip and roots, peel; set aside.
- Using the thinnest slicing blade on a mandolin, slice the radishes, place the sliced radishes into a large mixing bowl, add the salt, mix well with gloved or very clean hands.
- You may use tongs but we find that mixing with our hands allows to really work the salt all over the radish slices.
- Cover with plastic wrap, press the plastic wrap onto the top of the radishes; press firmly to remove as much air from the mixture, cover the bowl with a clean cloth kitchen towel.
- Note: The following steps should be done at room temps between 60F and 70F, so a cool, dark place like a cupboard is preferable. Any lower and the fermentation slows to a crawl, stops altogether, or never begins. Any higher and the fermentation speeds up, not giving enough time to develop the sour or tangy flavor common to lacto-fermented foods.
- Day 1 through 3:
- Twice a day remove the plastic wrap, turn the mixture over several times with gloved or clean hands, or tongs, cover with plastic wrap once again, press down firmly to remove any air, place a heavy plate or saucer on top of the plastic wrap, cover the bowl with the cloth towel.
- Day 4:
- Remove the mixture from the bowl and place in half-gallon or quart glass jars, pour any liquid from the bowl into the new container with the mixture.
- Press the mixture down with a potato masher or gloved hands, pour enough distilled water to reach the top of the mixture, cover with plastic wrap once again, press down firmly to remove any air, cover the jar with a lid (but lightly) or a cloth towel.
- Place the jars inside a shallow pan and in cool place in the kitchen.
- Note: As the fermentation begins and continues the contents of the jar will begin to bubble and may result in some of the liquid going over the top of the jar so placing the jars inside a shallow pan will keep you from having a wet mess on the countertop or in a cupboard.
- Day 5-7:
- Inspect the mixture once a day to make sure that the brine is still at the top level of the mixture. If not add more distilled water.
- Day 8 to ?: (We stop ours on day 10)
- The mixture should begin developing the sour, pickled flavor we love. At this point, you may begin tasting the radishes, continue the fermentation until you reach the level of sourness you prefer.
- When you have reached the flavor you prefer remove the plastic wrap over the mixture, cover tightly and place in the fridge to age and mellow, albeit slowly, for at least 4 weeks. May be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months but ours never lasts that long!
- Your lacto-fermented watermelon radishes are ready!
- Day 1 through 3:
Summer is just around the corner and that means hot dog (of your choice of course) time! Try using our lacto-fermented takuan, watermelon radish, and cabbage, red beet, and carrot sauerkraut as toppings! No boring hot dogs at your party!