Hot Pickled Watermelon Radishes

After one L-O-N-G week of cleaning up in the aftermath of last Tuesday's storm, I had a few brief moments to get back to the garden this weekend.  The time spent pulling weeds and snipping fresh basil was a welcomed change of pace, even if the buzz of a chainsaw or two was never too far away.  
Finding time for the garden also meant finding time for a little garden cooking.  In addition to making a batch of thank-goodness-this-week-is-over fresh basil pesto, I also processed some of the heirloom Watermelon (or Red Meat) Radishes I harvested the night before the storm into a perfect little jar of hot pickled radishes.  These little beauties are simply too pretty to only use them in salads, so this was a perfect way to showcase the wonderful pink hues and bring a little more brightness to the new week ahead of us.
These things are amazingly simple to make, but they are full of flavor.  You get the crunch and bite of a radish, with the heat of the chile pepper (I used a serrano chile pepper, but any chile will do), all wrapped up in a garlicky-vinegary, salty-sweet brine.  They are wonderful, even if they are a little stinky - in delicious pickled sort of way (by the way, why is it that the good stuff is always a little stinky?).  As they sit for the first 24 hours, the brine will take on a lovely rosy pink color and the flavors will really develop.  They are the one thing that has come closest to rivaling how I feel about banana pepper rings as my relish or choice. I'm looking forward to making these again with the second and third plantings of radishes as well.
Hot Pickled Watermelon Radishes
10-12 Watermelon Radishes
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons honey
1 hot chile pepper, halved lengthwise
2 large cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Trim and slice the radishes (peeling the radishes is optional) and pack into a sterilized pint jar.  Heat the water, vinegar, sea salt, and honey over a medium burner, stirring until the salt and honey have been completely dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat, adding the pepper, garlic, and peppercorns to the hot liquid.  Let the liquid sit for a minute or so and then pour the liquid (including the added ingredients) into the jar with the radishes.*  Cover and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.  The hot pickled radishes will be ready to eat in 24 hours and can be stored up to one month in the refrigerator.

*This was just slightly more liquid than would fit into my pint jar, so when you get close to full, be sure to scoop out the pepper, garlic, and peppercorns and get them in the jar before discarding any extra liquid.  

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