Q: “I’ve got a fresh harvest of spring radishes in my garden, but other than adding them to my salad, I’m not sure what to do with them. Got any ideas?”
A: First, congratulations on your harvest! Radishes are an easy-to-grow vegetable because they can be planted directly from seed in the early spring and are typically among the first plants ready to harvest.
Additionally, radishes are low in calories and are a source of potassium; calcium; sodium; and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Radishes are a cruciferous vegetable in the same plant family as kale, turnips, and broccoli. They can also help lower blood pressure and can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, research shows.
Radishes have a peppery flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture. Several varieties exist, including the most common variety, which is small and round with a red skin and white flesh. You can also grow black, white, yellow, pink, or purple radishes, which can grow long and narrow, shaped similarly to a carrot or parsnip.
When planting spring radishes, place the seedlings in a row of three-inch spacing, which will allow them to fully develop, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
“If you want to be able to harvest the radishes for several months, you can plant a few every two weeks,” he said. “They are ready to harvest when they are about the size of a ping pong ball.”
McDermott, who runs the Growing Franklin food production blog, recently posted a video that he and fellow OSU Extension educator Jenny Lobb produced on how to grow radishes and how to make them into a crunchy, spicy, pickled treat that both kids and adults can enjoy.
The video demonstrates harvesting freshly grown radishes; slicing them into thin pieces; and adding them in a glass jar with fresh parsley, chives, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes. To that mixture, add a brine consisting of simmered apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.
“After adding brine to prepared vegetables for refrigerator pickles, refrigerate them for at least 4 hours to allow flavor to develop, although 24 to 48 hours is even better,” Lobb said. “It’s best to eat the refrigerated pickles within two weeks.
“Quick-pickled vegetables like radishes are great topping additions to salads, bowls, soups, and tacos, and are even a great simple snack. They even taste great raw with cream cheese or hummus.”
Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or email@example.com.
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