Hello gardeners! The earliest bounty out of my garden this spring is the radishes. I planted two varieties: 1) Saxa 2 which is pictured above and is a fast developing radish and 2) Easter Basket Mix, which technically is a bunch of varieties. I got both of these from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they have grown wonderfully.
But what to do with them all? Honestly, I’ve shied away from growing radishes in the past because, while I like them, I didn’t think there was much to do with them besides eat them raw. In the last couple of years, that’s changed however and, for my own benefit as well as others I hope, I thought it would be helpful to put together a roundup of some ideas on how to consume these spicy globes of goodness!
First things first, though! If you are like me, I can not always go from harvest to prepared vegetable in a matter of hours. So, what’s the best way keep them as fresh as possible until you can work with them? There are many ways to store but the consensus is that if you need longer term storage, (2 weeks +), it’s best not to wash them first. Trimming them, then wrapping in some damp paper towels in a plastic bag with all the air sucked out, will keep them in the fridge for up to two weeks. I have had luck with this, even with keeping leaves on.
If you want less prep and only need to keep them fresh for a few days, you can stand them up in a container with about an inch of water in the bottom. Putting them in the fridge like this will keep them happy for a few days.
For longer term storage you can, apparently, bury them in sand like carrots and keep them in a cold, dark cellar, but I don’t have personal experience with this.
Okay, with that out of the way, lets get to preparation!
Radishes apparently do not do well being canned for long term storage (they get mushy), but they make great refrigerator pickles and can keep for a couple of weeks this way. This is probably my favorite “new” way to prepare radishes. It’s a pretty basic formula: clean and chop radish and onion into a clean jar, and then pour over a heated brine of your choosing (water, vinegar, salt and a little sugar – I used monkfruit sweetener). I’ll include a link below. These go well on sandwiches, tacos (like the fish tacos below), BBQ meats etc…. Korean cuisine uses pickled radish (usually Daikon), so this is a good place to look for some ideas. And they look so pretty!
Cooking radishes mellows them out. They still have a nice flavor but not as strong, so they can pick up other flavors. Their texture also becomes a bit more starchy, like a potato, but with some juiciness. I roasted these in olive oil, salt and an Italian seasoning mix. And roasting isn’t the only option for cooking them as a side dish. Seeing that someone’s (sorry, I can’t remember who!) favorite way to eat radishes was simply sauteed in butter was one of my inspirations to try cooking the radish harvest. In fact, there is a rumor that radishes and butter are a match made in heaven.
3. In the Raw
I think this is probably the way most people think about eating radish but it’s not just for salads. Some ways I enjoy them is sliced and added to a wrap or sandwich, on a bagel with cream cheese, as a side and if I’m feeling fancy with a honey mustard dip. One way I’d like to try is sliced thin on a buttered baguette (again the radish-butter love affair). There are also a number of recipes out there for radish centric salads. The greens are also edible but I admit to never having tried them, mostly because I am always desperate for greens for the voracious vegans in my household (see below – give us the greens or we give you the butt!). If you are wary of eating the greens straight up, and you don’t have the demanding vegans, they can be whizzed into a pesto like so many other greens. Obviously the whole radish shines in the raw!
This is something I haven’t yet tried but will before the radish-palooza is done. I sometimes struggle to use dehydrated veggies because dehydrating is a relatively new method of preservation for me. However, you can throw dehydrated radish into soups and stews as a less carb-y substitute for potatoes. I really like this idea as a pre-diabetic that is trying to watch my crab consumption. [NOTE: I am not a NO CARB warrior. Carbohydrates are important but I try not to eat them in excess.] They can also be dehydrated as slices and eaten as chips!
This is by no means a comprehensive roundup of radish recipes (ha!) but hopefully it is enough to spark some ideas. It was born out of my need to get more creative with my abundant radish harvest. As I up my veggie production in the garden, I don’t want anything to go to waste! I love being able to use every last thing harvested and increase the proportion of veggies in my diet.
What’s your favorite way to eat radishes? Anything not mentioned here?
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