Radishes are the root of a plant that belongs to the mustard family. They vary in size, shape, and color, as well as degree of spiciness, depending on the variety. Any radish will work for pickling. Although radishes can be grown year-round, they tend to be sweeter in the winter and spring, and more bitter or peppery during the dry summer months.
Wash 8 ounces radishes and trim the root ends just before using. With a paring knife or with the slicing blade of a food processor, slice the radishes as thinly as possible. You should have 2 cups sliced radishes. Slice 1 small onion into thin wedges, and use your hands to separate the layers of each wedge into pieces. Place the radish slices and onion pieces in a large bowl or crock.
Tip: Radishes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days after purchasing. Before refrigerating, remove and discard the leaves and transfer the radishes to a storage bag or container.
In another bowl stir together 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt until sugar is dissolved. Pour vinegar mixture over radishes and onions. If desired, add 6 heads fresh dill weed and/or 1 tablespoon whole pink or black peppercorns. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving and use within 3 days. When opening the container after refrigerating, the radish mixture will have a pungent aroma. You will end up with about 2 cups of the pickled radish mixture.
Tip: Over time the radish mixture may lose some of its vibrant color, but the flavor will deepen and the radishes will remain crunchy. The color of the pickled mixture may also vary depending on the variety and age of the radishes.
Serve these pickled veggies in place of dill pickles on burgers or brats, on a relish tray or appetizer platter, or as a snack along with crackers and cheese. They also make an ideal gift when packaged in a canning jar.