Miss 3 had her first taste of pickled radish cubes, the side-dish from a Korean fried chicken take-out meal.
Initially, she chewed it slowly and thoughtfully, as she does with every new food. Then, she proceeded to eat a dozen more cubes, until none was left.
While eating, she asked, "Why is it sour?"
I thought this was a great opportunity to teach pickling science as well as involve her in the making of a now-favourite food, an important practical life skill.
Making Homemade Radish Pickles with My Preschooler
Our Little Sous Opinel Le Petit Chef knife set comprising a knife and a peeler arrived just in time for this pickling project.
First we washed the radish, and patted it dry with our bamboo towels.
Then, I modelled holding a section of radish steadily in my left hand and moving the peeler left to right. This minimised the chances of the peeler accidentally coming into contact with our skin.
I sliced the radish across its cross-section so that its flat cut surface would sit nicely on the cutting board. This reduces the chances of radish slipping all over during the cutting.
As radish is firm and dense, I was concerned that Miss 3 might not be able to exert the amount of force needed to cut through it. She wasn't able to cut down with just her master hand but found that she could when her left hand supported the right. This was a great opportunity for bilateral hand use and practice.
After we've gotten slices, I modelled how to further cut the radish into smaller cubes. Miss 3 noticed that I would place 2 slices side-by-side and cut across them to yield 4 pieces, and emulated me. It was an authentic and organic moment for learning fractions and multiplication.
After we were done with the radish preparation, we prepared the acidic brine. I referenced My Korean Kitchen's recipe, but modified the ingredients slightly. Instead of white vinegar, I used unseasoned rice vinegar and in place of white sugar, I used maple syrup (for a healthier touch).
When bringing the brine to a boil, I included the radish cubes too. Though brine kills off most bacteria, I wanted to err on the side of caution since I'm currently pregnant and would be consuming the pickled radish too. The downside of cooking the radish would be that they get less crunchy.
Can't wait to taste our pickles in a few days!
- Pickling is the process of using an acidic brine to preserve a food (in this case, a radish vegetable) or enhance its taste.
- All plant foods are covered with benign bacteria (mostly lactobacillus). During pickling, these bacteria grow.
- The bacteria then convert sugar in the vegetable into other substances (like acids, carbon dioxide, and alcohol).
- The food is transformed by bacteria, and its texture, appearance and taste change. This is fermentation.
- Fermented pickles are full of good bacteria called probiotics, which are important for gut health.
Dreaming up of future pickle projects already (craving sour badly in this pregnancy). I would love to try pickling other kinds of radishes (like watermelon radishes and red radishes) too, together with fresh herbs!
I hope you enjoyed reading about radish pickling experience. Would love to see your pickles if you try it too!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.