I love fermenting daikon radish and other radishes because they tend to acquire a very nice sourness while retaining enough of their toothy crunch to satisfy our sensate (much better than “sin sick”) souls. I’m also a fan of adding a little heat with some Korean Red Pepper flakes, although this recipe is reasonably mild.
Once I bottled these up and refrigerated them, I left them in the refrigerator for several months before digging them out and trying them again. The long slow cool ferment added a ton of flavor and made these even more delectable. Update: after a few years of letting some of these stew in their own brine in the refrigerator, they became yet more amazingly sour. Like that roller coaster ride you hoped would never end when you were a kid, I savored these until this amazing fermented ride came to an end and the jar, alas, emptied out!
Clean the Daikon - Clean the daikon by scrubbing lightly under running water. In order to allow some of the beneficial bacteria naturally found on the daikon to remain for the fermentation, you want them cleaned well but not scrubbed to an immaculate finish.
Prepare the daikon - Cut the daikon into spears, approximately 1/2″ thick by about 3″ long.
Prepare the brine - Dissolve the sea salt into the water to make a brine
Top with a weight - Due to the salt in the water which breaks down some of the cell walls, additional water will leach from the daikon. Place a weight of some sort on the veggies to keep pressure on them and to encourage the liquid level to rise above the veggies. If you are using a glass jar, I’ve been using a clear plastic produce bag with about 1 quart of water in it as a weight. Make sure the bag doesn’t leak before using it. I learned that the hard way! It’s important when sealing the bag to leave some looseness in the bag rather than filling it tightly with air. The looseness will allow the bag to settle and conform to the shape of the fermenting vessel, thus making a perfect seal which keeps air out but allows gasses to escape as needed. If using a mason jar with an airlock, you can use these weights which I recommend.
Cover - cover in a way which allows gasses to escape.
Wait Impatiently - Let it sit for 4 weeks tasting regularly as you go to get a feel for how the flavor changes. Longer ferments simply mean more tartness which you may prefer.
Jar it up - place the spears in Pint Mason jars, packing the container vertically as you would with pickle spears. Cover with the brine.
Refrigerate - Refrigerate to significantly slow the fermentation.
Great served as a zingy spicy compliment to salads or as an interesting appetizer. For you imbibers out there, this would be great as a spear in your Sunday Bloody Mary or perhaps in a creative martini.