Hey, Mr. Radish PR guy, get up to speed. While brussels sprouts and avocados have been basking in the limelight, radishes have been left in the dark. And that’s a shame. These easy-to-grow root vegetables come in an assortment of colors, flavors and sizes. What’s more, the little gems can be deliciously served in many ways that go beyond the simple relish tray.
Green, pink, red, candy-striped, round, oblong, big or little—name a descriptor and you’ll find a radish to match. In American supermarkets, though, you’ll usually only find the little round red ones. Radishes are easy-to-grow and can be replanted several times during a season, so if you like to dig in the dirt, you can taste all kinds of this root veggie, from mild to peppery, in a single season.
The question is, what do you do with your harvest? Most of us have encountered them, washed and trimmed, on a relish tray where they make a tasty contrast with carrots, celery sticks and little pickles. But there are other simple ways to enjoy a radish.
• Spread sliced radishes on pieces of thinly sliced French bread and season with an excellent sea salt
• Toss halved radishes in olive oil and thyme; roast on a baking sheet until tender but firm.
• Save the greens. Wash radish greens well, chop them after discarding any tough stems. Saute some chopped bacon and garlic and add some quartered radishes. Cook until almost tender. Add the radish greens and cook until wilted.
• Add grated raw radishes to Asian-flavored slaw.
PRO ADVICE: Amber Nichols’ PLANTING TIPS
Wasatch Community Gardens’ Amber Nichols knows a thing or two about growing radishes. She suggests planting an assortment of varieties to get a mix of colors and spiciness. “With so many options, like French Breakfast, White Icicle, Cherry Belle or the stunning multicolored Watermelon, you’re sure to find a radish that you fancy,” she says. Nichols also rejects the practice of planting them all at once. “Planting 10-20 seeds every week or two—we call this succession planting—will keep you flush in radishes without being overwhelmed or leaving them in the ground too long so that they get a woody texture.”