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Snowflakes are Falling! Lacto-fermented Daikon Radish

9:54 AM

SO!   Daikon radish.  I discovered this gorgeous veggie several years ago and fell in love with the beautiful pattern that it's cross-sections have to offer. Especially this time of year as the snow falls outside.

See???  Snowflakes!  

For those of you who may not be acquainted with what this veggie looks like or where it comes from:  It's a favorite in Asian cuisine, tastes milder than what we're used to in our western-style "globe-shaped" radishes,  and looks like this fresh from the grocery store (it's also grown locally and ready late in the season around here in NY).

It's huge.  It's long and it has CRAAAZY rock-breaking/soil aerating capabilities.  Lots of farmers use it just for breaking up tough soil and then plow it in at the end of the season.  

Right up until recently, I bought these guys regularly and put cross-sections of them on salads or ate them on sandwiches or with a little vinaigrette. Very nice, very crunchy, a little bit of a palate cleanser (that's what they're used for traditionally). But then I got to thinking about things in jars... as always!

Daikon is also prized as a ferment and is traditionally fermented  whole in huge crocks with rice bran and various spices.   I decided that I wanted to retain my favourite aspect of eating daikon (the snowflake pattern and the crunch) and still gain some of the yummy "pickled" flavor and probiotic goodness that lacto-fermentation has to offer.  AAAAAND I didn't want to ferment a huge crock-full of stuff... because, really... I don't need a huge crock-full of stuff.  

I bought 2 daikon radishes.  One has been turned into "snowflakes" on various salads over the last couple of weeks (these guys keep in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag with a little water for weeks) and turned the other one into Lacto-fermented Snowflakes and Sticks:

Probiotic Snowflakes and Sticks (of Daikon Radish)
1 large daikon radish
2 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp tamari
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
2 quart jars
1 pint jar

The first thing that I did was realize that I wanted to try tamari flavor added in with these to stick with a traditional Asian palate, but then I decided that my snowflakes shouldn't be brown!  SO!   I ended up making 1 pint jar of "Snowflakes" and 1 quart jar of tamari-enhanced "sticks". 

Peel daikon.  Slice 1/3 of the daikon into "snowflakes" and the other 2/3 into matchsticks.  Pack a pint jar tightly with "snowflakes" and alternating layers of green onion. 

Pack the "matchsticks" into a quart jar with alternating layers of green onion.

In the 2nd quart jar, mix 2 tbsp salt into 1 quart of water until the salt is completely dissolved.   Top off the pint jar with brine and seal the pint jar.

Top off the brine jar with enough water to refill (since you just poured a pint out of it... right??). 

Pour 1 tbsp of tamari into the quart jar containing the matchsticks.

Then top the matchstick quart jar off with brine (which is now at a 1.5 ratio... remember, the extra water you just added? This is to offset the salinity already present from the tamari in the "matchstick" jar).

Make sure all of your veggies are under the brine in both jars.  I like to hold mine down with bamboo skewers.

Cap and let sit out at room temperature for about 7 days.   Be sure to "burp" the jars as needed by loosening the lids a couple times a day. 

After 7 days, enjoy and keep any leftovers in the refrigerator. 

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