Ever since making my first batch of sauerkraut last year, I’ve had the fermentation bug. No pun intended.
The whole process probably makes many people squeamish – you’re basically leaving food out and inviting bacteria to take over. But they’re beneficial bacteria (not all germs are bad, in spite of what the CDC would have you believe), which help populate your gut with probiotics, thus restoring more of a balance in your internal flora.
Fermentation also helps to break down the food into something that’s more digestible and easily assimilated and absorbed by your digestive system, and the bacteria themselves produce certain beneficial nutrients. So while it isn’t magic and I don’t notice any superpowers from consuming them, fermented foods are a helpful addition to any diet.
And it’s fun having various jars of stuff on your counter. At least for me.
Anyway, pickled daikon. Daikon is a long, white radish that’s pretty common in Asian cooking. It tastes much like your standard salad radish, and has some zing to it. Traditionally, daikon is pickled and served as a side dish, snack, or condiment along with other vegetables.
To prepare, cut it up into about two-inch long matchsticks (or shred it using a box grater). Pack it all down into a quart jar and add about a tablespoon of salt (non-iodized). Let it sit overnight. The radishes are pretty juicy, so they should let off quite a bit of liquid. If there isn’t enough the next day, add water to the jar to cover the radishes by an inch. Let this sit for another couple or few days, then move it to the fridge (or a cold garage).
After a couple weeks, I tried some with wild salmon – pleasant crunch, a little salty, and the spiciness was definitely toned down. Nice little garnish.
Need more fermenting inspiration? Give these a try: