(If you are not familiar with daikon go to a farmer’s market and get some! It is a large, white Asian radish that is good raw, or cooked in soups and stir fries and even pickled.)
Somehow though I had forgotten how late in the growing season daikon usually appear at the farmer’s market…so I waited, and waited and waited. Finally, two weekends ago, they appeared. I snatched up a couple pounds along with a couple pounds of carrots to make my pickle.
The first thing we did was cut off all the greens. Some were actually nice enough that they went into a big batch of greens we cooked up along with some kale and turnip greens. The next thing we did was peel them and cut off the ends.
Now here is the tricky part: the recipes call for very thin slices, usually 1/8 to one 1/4 of an inch. To do this all by hand would be possible but very tedious. So I invested in a $10 mandoline. These can be very dangerous so try to look for one with a nice piece that allows you to push the food across the blade while keeping your hand far away. Other than that downside they are very useful for massive amounts of chopping, especially the repetitive kind involved in canning.
(This is my mandoline, not to be confused with a mandolin because strumming this could have disastrous consequences. Unfortunately I left the handy piece that prevents me from cutting off my fingers out of this picture.)
I disregarded the instructions to cut the vegetables into spaghetti like strips and instead cut them into 2 inch lengths and then sliced these into 1/8th inch slices which will work perfectly for sandwiches.
Following the instructions I made the pickling liquid with water, vinegar, sugar and grated ginger. I then cooked the carrot and daikon in the liquid for a minute and then placed one star anise in the bottom of each sanitized jar, packed in the veggies and then covered them with the pickling liquid, leaving a half inch at the top. These were processed in a boiling water bath.
I ended up with 6 pints of these pickles which will come in handy not only for bánh mì sandwiches but also to eat alongside many Asian meals. I may be a dork but at least I'm a dork who eats well.