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Miso is an excellent medium for pickling vegetables. My favorites to pickle in this way are radishes, turnips, and other root vegetables. If they are small (up to about 2 inches/5 centimeters) you can leave them whole; otherwise coarsely chop. Experiment with other vegetables as well.
Timeframe: 1 to 3 weeks (or longer)
Vessel: Wide-mouth jar, bowl, or small crock
Ingredients (for 1-pint/ 500-milliliter jar):
- About 1/4 pound/125 grams radishes, turnips, carrots, or other vegetables, sliced head of garlic, split into cloves and peeled
- Just over 1 cup/250 milliliters salty long-fermented miso
- Spread a thin layer of miso on the bottom of the vessel.
- Then place vegetables and whole garlic cloves in the miso. Try to keep the vegetables from touching one another, so each piece will be surrounded by miso.
- Repeat with another layer of miso and another layer of vegetables.
- Cover the top layer of vegetables with miso and press. Weigh it down, or periodically press it down, and leave it to ferment in a moderately cool place.
- Taste. Dig out a pickle, slice into it, and taste after about a week. Taste periodically to monitor the evolving flavor. The vegetables will absorb flavor and salt from the miso, and be fermented, as the miso absorbs flavor and water from the vegetables. Both miso and vegetables are transformed by the process. Serve miso pickles in thin slices or chunky, as you like. Use the miso in soups, spreads, sauces, or dressings. Be aware that this miso now has a higher proportion of water and a lower proportion of salt, so though it has gained much flavor its longevity will be diminished.
- Liquid may rise to the top; this is sweet, rich miso tamari. Skim or pour it off and savor its complex flavor as a table condiment, or in dressings, marinades, and cooking.
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From Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, © 2016 by Sandor Ellix Katz. Reprinted by arrangement with Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.