I planted cucumber seeds at the end of April with the intention of making bread and butter (my very favorite) pickles this summer.  This will be the year I learn proper canning, I told myself, so I can savor my harvest throughout the year.  A month later, my cucumber “bushes” are still only three inches tall, but my pickle craving is such that when I came across this recipe on CHOW, I went straight to the garden and unearthed the last dozen radishes.

Sweet, sour, crunchy, and cold, these refrigerator pickles are quick to make and add zing to salads (particularly soft, mild lettuces like Boston and bibb), sandwiches (try them with avocado, smooth and creamy cheeses, or simply with butter), and burgers.

Bread and butter radish pickles

Adapted from CHOW

Yield:  About 1 1/2 c.

1 large bunch radishes (about 12)

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. brown or yellow mustard seed

1/4 tsp. whole coriander seed

1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

Trim roots and leaves off radishes, then thinly slice into rounds.  Put sliced radishes into a heatproof, non-reactive bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, spices, and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.  Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Pour brine over radishes.  Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.  Pickles will mellow and turn salmon pink after a day or so.  They keep in the fridge for about a week.