Radish

Raphanus sativus

USDA nutritional info

Radishes were domesticated in Europe and were well known by Roman times. They come in a broad variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, from tiny, round, red ‘Cherry Belles’ to long, tapered, white Daikons. They are a member of the brassica (cabbage) family and are one of the fastest crops we grow (as little as three weeks from seed to harvest). They are relatively cold tolerant, not at all heat tolerant, and in the fall tend to get buggy, so we will likely have them available through the spring and early summer.

Storage: Cut tops from radishes and store them, unwashed, in a closed but unsealed plastic bag in the fridge. Store the roots, also unwashed, in a separate plastic bag in the fridge.

Prep: Rinse radish tops in cool water. Scrub roots in cool water with a vegetable brush. Trim taproot from below root bulb. Serve whole or slice into disks or chunks.

Preserving: Don’t. There are very few things I can imagine saying that about. Good radishes are fleeting; enjoy them. The one thing you might try is to add small radishes, whole, to your kimchi if you make some, or just grate them, salt them, and store it in a cool location (à la sauerkraut).

Recipes: Radishes are good sliced into salad, or dipped in butter and salt. Or just salt. You can butter bread and put radishes on.

Radish Dip

from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

makes 1 quart

  • 4 c. washed and trimmed radishes
  • 1 c. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2-3/4c. sour cream
  • 2 T. chopped chives
  • salt and pepper
  • hot pepper sauce (optional)

Dry radishes thoroughly. Roughly chop in a food processor or by hand. Beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and chives, and combine with radishes. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce if you like. You can replace some of the radishes with other chopped veggies, like carrots or scallions.

Radish Top Soup

from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

makes 4-6 servings

  • 6 T. butter (you could surely get away with much less)
  • 1 c. chopped onions or white leek portions
  • 8 c. loosely packed radish leaves
  • 2 c. diced peeled potatoes
  • 6 c. liquid (stock or water)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream (optional)

Melt some butter in a large saucepan, add onions or leeks, and cook until golden, approximately 5 minutes. Add a bit of your liquid of choice if the pan starts to seem too dry. Stir in radish tops, cover pan, and cook over low heat until wilted, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes until soft in liquid along with 1 t. salt. Combine with radish tops and cook, covered, for 5 minutes to mingle flavors. Purée finely in a blender or food processor, or use a stick blender if you’re not too picky. Add cream and/or more butter if you like, and season to taste.

Sources: Angelic Organics: http://www.angelicorganics.com/Vegetables/vegetablescontent.php?contentfile=vegstorage; Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/; Marian Morash: The Victory Garden Cookbook; Sandor Ellix Katz: Wild Fermentation

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