Rosemary Grapefruit Daikon Spirals

Try your hand at making this homemade radish ferment with a citrus twist.

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by Kirsten Shockey


  • 1 pound daikon radishes, white, green, or purple (or all three), peeled and spiralized
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1-1⁄2 grapefruits, pink, red, or white
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Combine the radishes and rosemary in a large bowl.
  • Prepare the grapefruits by cutting off both ends to remove the peel. Next, cut each fruit into 3 wedges. Carefully cut around the edges to remove the remaining peel. The edges of the grapefruit will be exposed. Working over the bowl of radishes (so that all the juice drops into the ferment), take out the triangles of fruit by removing the membranes and dropping them into the bowl.
  • Stir in the salt. Almost immediately, you’ll have plenty of briny liquid.
  • Pressing out air pockets as you work, pack the mixture into your favorite fermentation vessel, or into a quart-sized mason jar. Wipe off the sides of the jar with a clean cloth. Make sure the mixture is submerged by the brine, and place small weights on top of the ferment if you have them. Or, you can use the long radish cores left over from the spiralizer: Crisscross the cores over your mixture, and tuck them under the shoulder of the jar. Tightly screw on a lid.
  • Set aside the jar or fermentation vessel in a corner of the kitchen to cure. If the lid starts to bulge up, loosen it for a moment to “burp” the ferment, and then tighten immediately. Watch for air pockets forming in the radish-grapefruit mixture. If you see them, open the lid and press the mixture back down.
  • Allow to ferment on your counter for 5 to 7 days, burping regularly. During storage, the less airspace above a ferment, the longer it’ll last, so fill the jars to the rim, and transfer the ferment to smaller jars as you use it. This ferment will keep for 6 months in the refrigerator.

Spirals give this fermented salad panache and character, but you don’t have to own a spiralizer to enjoy the surprising flavors this recipe offers. Use a mandolin or knife to slice radishes very thinly, or julienne instead.

This salad is a simple combination of winter and early spring ingredients that’ll make sure every taste sensor on your tongue has something to do. The daikon is fresh and crispy, sours deliciously, and can become a little salty with fermentation. The rosemary pairs nicely with both the daikon and the grapefruit, and surprises the palate. And the grapefruit adds a lovely bitterness. This bitterness comes from the chemical naringin. While it’s present in all grapefruits, it’s higher in the white-fleshed old-school grapefruits that have become hard to find because most people these days prefer sweet to bitter. I use pink grapefruit in this recipe because it’s easier to find; while it’s less bitter, it’s also beautiful, and that pink color adds the antioxidant lycopene to the mix. After making this recipe, you’ll have an extra half of grapefruit. Go ahead and enjoy it! It’s good for you, and you won’t be able to eat the ferment for a few days anyway.

Yield: 1 quart.

For an earthy, spiced variation, you can substitute a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger for the rosemary.

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Kirsten K. Shockey is the co-author of Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments. Kirsten and her husband began fermenting foods 20 years ago on their 40-acre smallholding, which grew into an organic food company. Read more at FermentWorks. Kirsten is on the editorial board of MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ new sister publication, Fermentation.