I'm a big fan of pickles -- the bite of the brine and the crunch of the vegetable have always been a favorite of mine. Last week I made a quiche with Swiss chard and I couldn't bear to throw away the colorful stems, they were too tender and fresh-from-the-farm for the compost pile. So, I tucked them away in the fridge while I waited for inspiration to strike.
And then it did. When I was looking for a hunk of Parmesan, I ran into the bunch of radishes from the Lake Superior CSA box last week (my fridge isn't exactly organized -- more like a treasure hunt, in the dark, with blinders on). I immediately thought about pickling them...which reminded me that I had tucked the chard stems away as well (another hunt and gather expedition in the fridge was in order) and a pickling match-made-in-heaven was born.
Since I prefer my vegetables to be crunchy, I always make refrigerator pickles -- they are easy to put together, take about a week to cure, and keep for a couple of months in the fridge. These pickles are a good companion for cured meats, tuna salad, sandwiches, or anywhere else you'd put a pickle!
Pickled Radishes & Swiss Chard Stems
1 bunch of radishes, stems discarded and quartered
Stems from a bunch of Swiss chard, cut into 2 -3 inch pieces
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cups of white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dill seeds
Place the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Toast the seeds in a skillet, stirring them frequently over medium heat, until they're fragrant. Set aside.
Divide the radishes, chard stems, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, and seeds (mustard, fennel, and dill) between two 16-ounce Mason jars and pour the vinegar mixture over top. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until cured, about a week.