Written by Christi Sobel, current Ithaca Farmers Market member
One of my favorite things about being a farmers market vendor is discovering new vegetables that push my culinary horizons. Right now during the winter there are a few particularly unusual storage crops worthy of exploration, (hello, weird-looking celeriac!) A few weeks ago my market table was next to Muddy Fingers Farm – so I picked up some daikon radishes from Matt and Liz to mess with in my kitchen. These particular radishes are long, white roots with pale green tops – and with one bite I discovered they taste mild and crunchy. The large, raw roots sat on my counter – but I didn’t really know what to do with them.
In Vietnamese restaurants I love when all the little side dishes magically appear on your table like spicy kimchi, salty sea vegetables, fermented soybeans, mysterious sauces and…sweet, delicious pickled daikon radishes. I eat a lot of rice bowls at home too – so I try to keep some of these sides around to add some flavor to my rice, veggies, protein and sauces. Last weekend seemed like the perfect time to try making pickled daikon radishes The results were awesome; light and sweet, a little spicy and very crunchy. Fortunately I’m the only one who likes this kind of thing in my house – so I got to eat them all.
I peeled and cubed three mid-sized daikons, and packed them into a quart sized mason jar. I also sliced two jalapenos for some heat (because they happened to be in the fridge,) and packed those in the jar too. On the stovetop I heated ½ cup water, ½ cup rice vinegar and ½ cup sugar until the sugar dissolved. I also added a bit of ume plum vinegar too, just for extra flavor. I then poured the liquid over the veggies in the jar until it everything was covered, put the lid on and let it sit on the counter to cool. About an hour later the jars went into the fridge. A day later I started eating them. A week later, they are gone and I’m ready to start again. What will I buy next?
Christi A. Sobel has been a market vendor since 2001 and is an artis in the medium of fine art, scientific illustration and design. She makes notecards, prints, limited edition etchings, original paintings, calendars, gift cards, paper jewelry, tiles and hand-painted shoes and belts. Find out more at christisobel.com.