How to Make Sweet and Sour Radish Relish

June 13, 2012

Ah, the radish. They are pretty, aren't they? At the farmers' market, my relationship with the radish was, "look but don't buy." It's not that I'm allergic to radishes, it's just that I wasn't sure what to do with 'em. Sure one or two on a salad are great but not so great that I wanted to buy bunches of them.

So when I took a canning class last Sunday, I was excited to see "Radish Relish" in the lineup. Finally! I'd learn what to do with radishes. And I wasn't the only one, a few other students admitted they didn't know what to do with radishes either.

We made and canned a radish relish. Now, the whole point of canning is to "put up" food to enjoy later. Much later. Well...I was curious about this radish relish! My "later" turned out to be later...that afternoon. I couldn't help myself. As soon as I opened the jar, I grew a little concerned. The aroma that met me was strong. With one whiff, I was reminded that radishes come from the cruciferous family--other family members are cabbage and broccoli. While the relish isn't fermented like sauerkraut, it gave off that same sour smell. (Honest moment: my friend's young niece was visiting when I opened the jar. She exclaimed, "Elizabeth! It smells like farts!")

Like sauerkraut, the aroma dissipates a second or two after you open the jar. I tried a bite. And fell in love! This stuff is good. Made with grated radishes, mustard, dill, and get this, cumin, it's nicely sweet and sour, thanks to the vinegar and granulated sugar in the base. One bite led to two and two led to three. Soon almost the entire small jar was gone! And I hadn't even tried it on anything. I ate it straight! 

Since I ate almost the entire jar in one sitting, I wanted to make more. Since I'm still a canning novice and don't yet have the supplies for canning, I decided to play around with the recipe and make a refrigerator version. I reduced the yield by about half and tinkered a little with the spices.The resulting relish tastes fantastic and, really, takes less than 15 minutes to make. (Increase that time if you don't have a food processor to grate your radishes.)

If you're like me and didn't know what to do with radishes, try this recipe!  It's great on hot dogs, spooned over a fatty fish, like salmon, or served alongside lamb or pork.

Let's make it!


One day I will remember to include all ingredients in the ingredient shot. Today was not that day. Here we have the radishes, spices, salt, sugar, and apple cider vinegar. What's missing? The onion. Um, the onion was shy. That's it!


So pretty! Dirt loves to cling to radishes. I rinse them whole and then again after they are trimmed.


Cut off the greens and root ends. Although the greens are edible, we aren't using them for this recipe.


Rinse them again.


If you have a food processor, set it up with the grater attachment. Honestly, grating is one of my favorite uses for a food processor. It takes seconds!


Load the radishes into the feed tube and grate them. Push them down by using the plunger. Don't use your hands! Repeat with the small onion.


Pretty! If you don't have a food processor, grate the radishes and onion on a box grater.

(And now we reach the point of the step-by-step where I accidentally switched on my video recorder. Oy!) Combine all the ingredients except the radishes and onions and bring to a boil.


At this point, I realized I was recording and decided that might be fun! (Am not giving the Food Network a run for their money with my video skills, let me tell you!) Here's what happens when you add the radishes: the soften quickly. Just add them to the boiling liquid, stir, and that's it. Cook until almost soft. I like them to have a little crunch.


See how they reduce in volume? This only took about three minutes.

Transfer to a container and allow to cool. Refrigerate and serve cold.


As the relish cools, it turns a lovely bright pink! So pretty and SO tasty!


Now I have to ask you, what do you do with radishes? 

Talk to you soon! 


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