Happy New Year everyone! Radishes are typically one of the first crops I harvest from the farm in the new year. They can be planted as soon as the ground is consistently thawed out, and then harvested a mere 30 days after planting. If your goals this year include growing more of your own food, or eating more locally grown food, incorporating radishes into your diet is important, as they are a fast and easy crop to grow that are available locally throughout most of the year. Here I present ten unique ways to prepare radishes.
If you’ve tried radishes in the past and found them not to your liking, perhaps you will enjoy a different preparation of them. In addition to assisting in eating local foods, radishes also help with switching to a healthier plant-based diet. Radishes are an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Health experts recommend eating a rainbow of colorful vegetables, and radishes certainly deliver color with their many shades of pink, purple, black and white.
Want to include more radishes and other delicious vegetables in your diet? Click here to check out our vegetable subscription program. Whether your radishes come from our farm, from your home garden, or from the store, you will enjoy trying these five unique ways of preparing radishes.
Radishes come in many colors to help you eat a nutritious rainbow diet.
1. Thinly Sliced
Sometimes I pick a batch of radishes that are too spicy for me to eat. When this happens, I slice them paper thin with a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. Then I toss the radishes with a nice vinaigrette salad dressing and let them marinate for a few minutes to soak up the flavor. The marinated radishes can then be used as a side dish, in a sandwich or wrap, or on a salad. The combination of a thin slice and a soak in vinaigrette reduces the spice to an enjoyable level. Mixing in thinly sliced carrots is a nice variation.
Radishes can be roasted the same way you would roast potatoes to make home fried potatoes. I slice the radishes into wedges, season them with my favorite herbs and spices, drizzle a little olive oil, and then roast them in the oven at 400 Fahrenheit until they are golden brown. A health benefit is that the radishes are lower in carbohydrates and calories than roasted potatoes, but have a similar flavor and texture.
These radishes look like a nice size to quarter and roast. This photo is from 2019. After the drought conditions that we had in 2020, it's hard to believe the farm was ever this green!
3. In Coleslaw
Any good coleslaw recipe that doesn’t already include radishes can benefit from their addition. Just mix finely julienned radishes into your favorite coleslaw recipe, and slightly reduce the amount of cabbage. The result is a more crunchy coleslaw with a slight peppery bite from the radishes. Delicious!
5. Refrigerator Pickles
You can’t go wrong with refrigerator pickles. They are the easiest type of pickles to make. Mix vinegar, water, salt and pickle spices to form a brine, adjusting the ratio of the ingredients until you like the taste. Fill a jar with sliced radishes, and pour the brine over the radishes. Put the jar in your refrigerator for 24 hours, then eat and enjoy your pickled radishes. My favorite combo is purple daikon radishes marinated in white rice vinegar, seasoned simply with salt and a hint of sugar. Like magic, the purple radishes turn pink from the acidity of the vinegar.
Bringing in a bunch of mini purple daikon radishes from the greenhouse, my favorite! Photo taken at Sterling Organic Farm during February, 2020.
6. Eat The Leaves, Too
Radish leaves are delicious when cooked. I have a recipe linked here on the blog for rosemary radishes that includes both the leaves and roots of the radishes. Radish leaves can be substituted for any recipe that involves cooked kale. Just make sure to cook your radish leaves, as the texture can be a bit prickly when raw.
7. In a Stir Fry
Radishes make a great locally grown substitute for water chestnuts in a stir-fry. I slice the radishes in quarter inch thick rounds, similar to how water chestnuts are typically cut for a stir fry. Then I add them in during the last few minutes of cooking to let them soften slightly and soak up a bit of the sauce. The radishes add a nice bit of crunch and peppery bite to the dish.
8. In Vegetable Soup
You might not have though to include radishes in your vegetable soup, but hopefully you will remember to try some in your next soup. To include radishes in soup, I dice them into quarter inch cubes. Radishes take slightly less time to cook than other root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, and should be added five minutes afterwards. Simmered until soft in a soup, the radishes loose their spice and become juicy, tender morsels that have soaked up the seasonings and flavors of the soup.
9. Lacto-fermented Pickles
Fermented foods, such as lacto-fermented pickles, add valuable probiotics to our diets that can help with digestion. These pickles are a little more challenging to make than the refrigerator pickles referenced above. If you already lacto-ferment vegetables, you can easily add radishes to your favorite mixed veggie pickle recipes. Please note that the radishes will often change color during the fermentation process, so don't be alarmed if this happens. If you would like to learn how to lacto-ferment vegetables, such as radishes, here is a link to a great resource to learn how.
Microwaves are great for those nights when I am exhausted after a busy day of harvesting and packing CSA shares. Although microwaves heat food inconsistently and don’t bring the same flavor-boosting benefits as other cooking methods, they really help when you are in a hurry. Last summer, one of my customers shared that he cut up and microwaved the purple daikon radish along with some summer squash, and served them simply topped with a bit of butter. I really appreciate this cooking tip for those busy mid-summer evenings during the peak harvest season.
I hope you learned a thing or two from this blog post, and feel inspired to try new ways of cooking and eating radishes. If you have a favorite radish recipe, please feel free to share it in the comments!