Thursday, September 07, 2006

Laboring Over Labor Day Radish Pickles

Reflecting back at this summer of 2006, several unforgettable images stand out in my mind:

My Mom's weathered and splintered picnic table cloaked in a red and white checkerboarded vinyl tablecloth;

Beef steaks ridged with thick white edges of fat, ready to be seared over glowing red charcoals on a sizzling grill grate;

Full ears of corn, fully beaded with plump, butter-colored kernels that burst-to-the-bite with sugary corn juice; and most of all,

Crisp, tangy, and cooling Chinese-style radish pickles.

Labor Day marks the official end of summer and the last time to fully relish the flavors and textures of the season. I am happy to say that this Labor Day weekend, I was able to enjoy many summer pleasures, and of these pleasures, my favorite were the pickled radishes. Although the season is quickly changing, it is not too late to enjoy these delicious radish pickles, and here is how:

First, select the firmest, most brightly colored radish bunches possible at a local farmers market stand. Next, remove all the black spots, bruised patches, and tenacious root wrinkles (that have soil deeply embedded within the crevices) with a small and easily-maneuverable paring knife. Then, slice the radishes into coin-sized rounds, and place them in an acidulated pickling solution made of white vinegar, granulated sugar, salt, crushed garlic, and freshly ground pepper.

Place the pickles into the refrigerator with an airtight lid. I'm gonna repeat myself here: you need a container with an "airtight lid." You don't want your entire fridge to smell like a wasteland. You must prevent the sulphurous odor molecules of wretchedness from overwhelming innocent bystanders each time the insulated vacuum seal of the refrigerator door is peeled open. A skimpy and loose-fitting plastic cellophane cover is grossly inadequate to control the tempestuous stench of pickling radishes. Trust me, the smells of some root vegetables are venomously putrid, especially when the smells are provoked by vinegar or boiling water.

Let the pickles sit in the refrigerator for several hours. When the color of the pickling solution turns a vibrant "Hawaiian fruit punch" color, and the pickles are ready to eat!

I hope I've inspired you to try my favorite summer pleasure, Chinese-style radish pickles. Bon appetit!


  1. Had grand, sweeping visions of being fantastic food blogger before realizing have terribly unsophisticated palate. Have every intention of fixating self on Food Network in hopes of acquiring via osmosis culinary prowess/expertise such as your own.

  2. i love your warnings of the venemously putrid smells! lol!! i loved pickled food, like pickled green beans! the radishes look great.

  3. Mmmm ... I adore radishes in all forms, and I really dig pickles too. Best of both worlds!

  4. Hi PE - Did you manage to save me one of those steaks..... ;o)

  5. The worse it smells, the better it tastes, right?

    Those steaks look perfect.

  6. I posted my top 5 foods list...check it out.

    P.S.: I can't seem to post any comments when I am logged in on your site...weird.

  7. Hey PE,

    You made me miss my mom and our summer BBQs. =( I need to get my butt back up to NorCal for a visit.

    - CP

  8. I am flattered Tomato 67, but I don't call what I have "culinary prowess" or "expertise," rather, I call it bumbling idiocy!

    I was craving radishes after you inspired me with your post on radishes and tacos Pink Nest, thank you for that.

    You should try making these Sean! They taste similar to Japanese pickles (the kinds you sometimes get in bento boxes), and you can serve it as the Chinese-style banchan (pickled Korean appetizer).

    Whoops! I'm sorry Kirk, I ate 'em all this time, but I'll make sure there is an extra one for you next time!

    Sage advice Elmo Monster... Well, sometimes I think! ;)

    Looks great Rasa Malaysia! Sorry about the comments. It might be because I switched to Blogger Beta. If you are still having trouble posting, try posting under "Other" and typing out your name and website.

    I miss Southern California Chubby Panda. We'll switch places sometime!


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