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You must sterilise your jars before you start and you will need to check your ferment every day for four to five days.
Combine the radishes and red pepper in a bowl with the salt and sugar, and really scrunch up with your hands, squeezing to start releasing their juices. Leave to cure for 1 hr, then squeeze again for about 10 mins. Add the garlic and chilli, and squeeze some more.
Pack the radish kraut into a sterilised jar, pressing down hard to make sure there are no air bubbles (I use the end of a clean rolling pin for this). As you push down, the brine from the vegetables should cover them (they won’t come all the way up the jar; you should be left with 2-3cm of space at the top). You really need to push down hard. If the brine doesn’t fully immerse the vegetables, add a bit of mineral water to ensure the veg is fully covered with liquid – this is crucial.
Scrunch up some baking parchment and stuff it firmly down into the jar – this will weigh down the veg and keep it immersed. Top with clean muslin and fasten with a rubber band. Leave on a cool, dark shelf for four to seven days, depending on how funky you like it to taste – this really is more of a guideline, as it does come down to personal taste. The speed at which it ferments will also depend on the season. If it’s warm, the process will be quicker; if it’s cold, slower. I like to check my ferment every day to see how it’s coming on, and also to lift off the muslin and parchment to release those fermentation gases before resealing (known as burping), so that the jar doesn’t explode. When you’re happy with the taste, remove the parchment and muslin, seal with the lid and store in the fridge to stop it fermenting any further. Will keep for months.
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