Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daikon and Carrot Pickles

Carrot and daikon awaiting transformation.

My schedule seems to have slowed just enough to make time for making pickles or I've managed to forget something I'm supposed to be doing and have filled the resulting void with pickles and canning. Regardless, it's a lovely time. It could be, too, that I'm slightly homesick and canning is my balm. As I fill jars with sweet marmalade or these spicy pickles I think of my family and friends back home that set me on this path filled with colorful jars and flavorful food. They remain my inspiration.

As does the harvest currently beginning at the farm. While greens like komatsuna are starting to roll in so are the daikon. We're growing two varieties this year - the usual torpedo-sized mammoths that lounge like rock stars in my bike basket and a short fat variety that snuggles in like a cat on the lap. Both are delicious and crunchy and bright and snappy, but the short fatties are ready now. I came home with two the other day, and so decided to try a recipe I'd long had my eye on over at Food in Jars. (Her new book, by the way, looks like a doozy.)

Of course, I tweaked it to fit my cupboard and taste buds and general laziness about finding exactly the right ingredients. And because I'm sometimes slightly inattentive...that's another story. They were a hit at a recent party, and I suspect that as they steep in their brine they'll only get better. I'll be trying them again, too, with more colorful daikon just to see what happens. Someone better send me some jars.....

Lovely carrot slice
Tokyo Carrot and Daikon Pickles
2 small, tubby daikon or half of one big one
3 fat carrots

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander powder
500 ml water
500 ml cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 anise stars, whole (I just used what was in the entire package.)
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger

Hand slice the carrots and daikon. I could use the arm strength, and ever since reading a review of Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork I have taken the food processor off my list. Set aside. Mix up the brine and bring it to a boil. Taste as you go to match your taste buds. Add the sliced vegetables, give them a good stir and mix, and remove from the heat. Fill prepared jars, wipe the rims, screw on the lids, and process for a good ten minutes. Makes roughly six pints.

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