Radishes Out the Wazoo

Remember back in early spring when we discussed vegetables that can be planted in March? Well, the first one that I had listed was radishes. I often refer to these as the gardener’s “instant gratification” because they are ready to harvest quite quickly. This year, mine went  from seed to ready-to-pick in just about a month. And I planted a very large crop of them. The result? Radishes out the wazoo.

You may be wondering, what can you do with that many radishes? They do not seem to be an ingredient that is frequently used in recipes or cooked dishes. But it does get old after a while to eat them all plain or just on top of a garden salad. And most of us simply don’t possess the creative talent to construct an Aztec God out of radishes…

Well, my lovely wife has come up with a whole array of ways to use radishes, and the terrific thing is that they’re all quite easy, (though perhaps not as visually stunning as the Aztec God). Try grating a handful of radishes and carrots, then mixing them with a dab of dijon mustard and mayonnaise. It makes an excellent sandwich condiment. Or, for a quick appetizer or snack, slice off the top and bottom of your radishes so that they are level on a plate, then use a small knife to make a little hole in the top center. You don’t need to core the whole thing, just a little hole will do. Now, fill this hole with a dollop of room temperature butter or cream cheese. Give it a sprinkling of salt, and maybe a few fresh herbs if you wish, and that’s it. You’ll want to eat these right away, because if you put them in the fridge, the butter hardens back up, and the texture is just not as delicious. My kids used to eat these butter radishes by the pound. No kidding- I actually got my kids to eat a vegetable by the pound.

With all the great uses for radishes, my favorite is pickling them. Now my wife and I pickle quite a few different vegetables, including green beans, cauliflower, beets, and many others. Her favorites are pickled okra and asparagus, and my favorites are pickled yellow squash and radishes. Yes, much, much more than just cucumbers can be pickled. Plus, pickling is an excellent way to keep the fresh vegetables from your garden, whether you want to give them as gifts, or store them in preparation for crisis.

The process of pickling radishes can be done many different ways. But the recipe that we use is pretty easy, and allows you to eat them just a day later. (Again, radishes are great for instant gratification. This is quite unlike our cucumber pickles, which take a good 6-8 weeks to cure.) This particular recipe also cuts down a bit on the hot, peppery flavor of the radishes, while still preserving their crisp, crunchy texture.

To pickle your radishes, you’ll need to first gather the ingredients for a brine:

  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of white table sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1 dried bay leaf. 

Combine all of these ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir it until all of the sugar has dissolved into the liquid. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the brine from the heat and set it aside on the stove.

Next, wash and trim your radishes. Then, slice them thinly with either a mandolin or a knife. Place all your radish slices in a glass heat-proof bowl.

At this time, your brine should have had 5-10 minutes to cool. That’s perfect. You’re ready to go ahead and pour it over your radish slices. Leave this on your counter and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Then, tightly cover it and place it in your fridge.

That’s it- easy! These pickled radishes will be ready to eat in 24 hours, and will keep in a covered bowl in your fridge for about 5 or 6 days. If you want to pickle large quantities, you’ll probably want to go ahead and can them. You can use the exact same recipe above, and just go through the same canning process as you would any other pickled vegetable. If you need instructions on how to can properly, including selecting the right jars and sterilizing them, you can click here.

Also, the brine recipe above is good for just one bowl, or about 12-16 pickled radishes, depending on their size. I plant French Breakfast Radishes each year, which came with my Survival Seed Bank. They grow in a sort of oblong shape, and should be picked while they’re still fairly small. French Breakfast Radishes are pictured below. If you plan to use a round variety, such as Beauty Heart or Cherry Belle, these get quite a bit larger. And of course Crimson Giant is the largest, hence the name.

One additional thing worth noting: When you make your pickled radishes, keep the windows open. It’s a very stinky process! I can assure you, though, it is one that is well worth it.

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2 comments so far

  1. […] you recall from a couple weeks back, I blogged about the many different vegetables that my wife and I love to pickle. Yellow squash, okra, […]

  2. […] to harvest quite quickly, and are great for a variety of applications, (as you may remember from my radish blog from last year). Green onions are another fast growing salad […]


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