March 5, 2012
Here at the house, we’re hot for radishes. Radishes taste great, are extremely easy to grow and make any plate prettier with their amazing ruby red color. We snack on radishes plucked fresh out of the earth (we do scrub the dirt off first), slice them in thin round disks over buttery greens for an extra crunch in salads, dip them into our favorite dips, smear them with butter and a pinch of sea salt, and sometimes I even pickle them.
With the weather warming up a bit it’s a good time to start planting radish seeds. Usually, when I plant things into my garden I start from seedling— this just makes growing process so much easier. Often, the seed to seedling state can be time consuming and frustrating as you conduct war against the wind and the birds. But this is not the case with radishes. Radishes mature in only 25 – 35 days. It’s a great project to plant with your kids because the action is about as quick as it gets in garden land. Carrots are another good choice, but they do take 65-75 days to mature.
If you don’t have raised garden beds you can seed directly into containers/pots. It’s great to have pots of herbs, but know you can take it up a notch and grow veggies too. Planting instructions are the same for carrots and radishes.
Some interesting radish varieties to try:
Dikon: This is white, large East Asian radish is mild in flavor and great for pickling.
Watermelon: (Pictured above) This tender, crisp and slightly peppery radish is absolutely beautiful. I like to slice them and use them in place of crackers— gorgeous and gluten free.
French Breakfast: These radishes are those cute ones with the white tips, they have a crisp texture and a mild sweet flavor.
Here’s a recipe for pickled radishes that I made to sprinkle over my marinated hanger steaks— the flavor and crunch is totally delicious. You could also add the pickled radishes to a sandwich or jazz up your chili.
Quick Pickled Radish
Adapted from Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons fennel seeds (whole)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (whole)
2 cups radishes, trimmed (any mix of variety is fine)
Wash, remove stems and chop radishes into quarters (for smaller varieties slice in half length-wise). Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat and pour over radishes. Cool to room temperature.