Saturday, December 17, 2011

Preserving: Daikon radish

Harvested daikon; ready to dry.

My all-time favorite pickle is the Japanese takuan. It's the yellow pickle that comes with onigiri or some bentoo boxes. It's made out of daikon radish, of which we had plenty. So I searched online for an "authentic" recipe for making it. I used the recipe on this site - it was very similar to most other sites and gave clear directions.

The first step was to dry out the daikon: after harvesting, wash the roots, leave the greens on, and let them dry in the sun for about 2 weeks until the radishes are very flexible and can be bent easily. Once dry and flexible, cut off the leaves (save for later step)
1st layer of daikon, bent and packed in.
and roll on a hard surface to soften any hard spots. Make the pickling mixture: rice bran (the healthy part of rice that is processed off when turning brown rice into white rice; this is not easily available, even in health food stores so I had to actually order it online), salt, sugar, chili pepper, konbu and persimmon peel (this is for coloring). In a clean heavy vessel, layer the pickling mixture, daikon and leaves (in this order), being sure to leave as little air between the daikon as possible, packing the leaves down. Put a weight on the soon-to-be pickles and cover with a cloth to keep clean. Leave in a cool, dry place for about 4 weeks.
Full jar of soon-to-be takuan.

I had harvested 11-lbs. of daikon; their dry weight was only 5-lbs. And this fit perfectly into the only heavy vessel I could find easily (since it's glass, I'll cover it with a cloth to keep out the light). Sushi party in January!

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