The first crop to be pulled out of our garden and enjoyed this year has been our endless bounty of radishes. They are nothing fancy, just your run-of-the-mill cherry red garden radish, but they have been a crunchy, spicy blessing that I relish pulling out of the soft dirt in my own backyard. Especially after the extraordinarily long winter that lasted well into May and threatened to eat up any hope of having any sort of garden at all.
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I spotted this recipe for kimchi radish pickles in the New York Times a few months ago and bookmarked it in my brain for what I hoped would be the plethora of radishes coming my way, and they did not fail.
All at once they had gone from little sprouts to full grown ruby bulbs, their shoulders bulging out of the ground and growing bigger by the hour. Didn’t they know I was going on vacation? Apparently the radish waits for no man, so I plucked as many as I could and pickled them in a delicious brine of salt, chiles, and sugar.
When we returned from our trip there they were, dutifully waiting for us in the refrigerator, lacking a little crunch but making up for it in flavor. They perk up a ham sandwich like nobody’s business but I like to snack on them straight out of the jar.
I used a Turkish crushed red pepper called Pul Biber which is very similar to Aleppo pepper but if you want to make it more of a traditional kimchi you can use Korean chile flakes. Whatever you do make sure to use chile flakes and not powder.