In Japan kabu (white turnips) are often salted to make tsukemono pickles. Here in the United States, white turnips are rather rare, even though I started to see them at farmers markets. No need to wonder around to find white turnips, because you can use regular radishes to make quick tsukemono pickles.
I made tsukemono pickles using french breakfast radishes, which was distributed from CSA. Regular round radishes also work well. The method is very simple. cut the radishes in quarters, cut the greens in 1″ length, sprinkle salt, and apply pressure for hours or days. That’s it.
The amount of salt depends on the weight of the vegetable. As a rule of thumb to make quick pickles, salt should be 2% of the vegetable weight. Get a cheap kitchen scale for yourself and weigh the vegetable, as using correct amount of salt is the key to the success.
When you make tsukemono using vegetables, you can also add thinly sliced kombu and/or dried chili peppers. This time, I added freeze dried yuzu citrus pith (the yellow stuff in the picture) to add aroma. Some people add dried orange pith.
Other vegetables, such as napa cabbage, regular cabbage, sliced daikon, sliced carrots, cucumbers, or the combination of those vegetables can be quick tsukemono pickes in the same way.
|Separate radishes from the greens, and wash well. Cut the radishes into quarters, and greens into 1" in length. Measure total weight of vegetables. Salt should be 2% of the weight of vegetable weight.
Put the radishes and greens into a container, sprinkle salt, and drop weight over it. You can use a small plate and a mug as a weight.
Wait until water comes out of the vegetable. When the vegetable looks wilted, it's done. Some people like it barely done, but others like it well wilted. If water doesn't come out at all after few hours, add some water. If the vegetable is too salty wash the salt away before serving.