My love of fermented food is something that only continues to grow and grow. Aside from all the wonderful health benefits, the fact that fermented food just taste so damn good is essentially what keeps me going back for more. Known for being excellent for restoring gut health, increasing vitamin levels in veggies, having cancer fighting properties as well as helping to remove toxins from the body, it seems that the benefits of fermentation to food is an impressively long list. Once you get a taste for the funky ferment fizz, your body will naturally keep craving the goodness.
New to fermenting? Radishes are great place to start. These versatile little jewels just love the ferment action and lose some of their heat when fermented and instead take on a much more mellow but zingy taste.
Perfect for cheeseboards, salads, slaws or piled generously into a bahn mi or roasted meat roll, these bad boys elevate the simplest of dishes and will have you munching on them straight from the jar.
Radishes are available almost all year round in French, heirloom or Asian varietals, any of which will suffice in this recipe. Of course, if radish ain’t your bag, give any old veggie a whirl instead. Cabbage, carrot and beetroot all ferment brilliantly and work wonderfully with an array of seasonings too. Fresh turmeric, ginger, garlic and chilli will punch up the flavour along with dried spices such as fennel, cumin or coriander seeds. Be wary though, a little goes a long way when fermenting, so generally one clove of garlic per jar is plenty.
Fermenting veggies provides maximum reward for almost next to no effort and will most certainly have both your tummy and your taste buds buzzing contentedly. Simply put, everything tastes better with a side order of fermentation – and your body will love you for it.
– 2 x 500ml jars
– 3 1/2 cups radishes
– Seasonings such as garlic, chilli, ginger or dried spices like coriander or cumin seeds
– 3 tablespoons unrefined coarse salt
– 4 cups filtered water
1. Sterilise and dry your jar and lid before getting started.
2. Thoroughly wash the radishes and trim away any long roots and leaves. Thinly slice radishes into 3-5mm slices, or to your desired thickness. Pack radishes and chosen seasonings (if using) into your jars. Be sure to leave an inch or so at the top to allow the brine to completely cover the radishes.
3. Next, prepare your salt brine by mixing the salt and water together and stirring until dissolved.
4. Pour the salt brine over the radishes and place a weight inside the mouth of the jar to keep your radishes under the brine. A smaller sterilised jar filled with water can be a useful weight if you’re not using an airlock jar, or a folded up piece of cabbage can work too.
5. Cover your jar with a tea towel and let radishes sit on a bench top for around 3-7 days. Depending on how tangy and sour you like your radishes will vary the time. Have a little taste after three days. If you’re happy with the flavour, transfer the jars to the fridge. If they’re not quite tangy enough, leave them out for another day or two to ferment a little longer. Your fermented radishes can last up to 6 months in the fridge.
NOTE: If you’re using a jar without an airlock you will need to ‘burp’ your jars every so often, you’ll probably notice them hissing even. If you can’t push down on the metal lid simply unscrew it letting out the gasses, immediately tightening it back up. If you don’t ‘burp’ the jars, carbon dioxide levels may build up, causing them to explode or crack.
Photo by Alice Healy.