How to Grow, Preserve and Cook with Radishes

Radishes may not be the most popular vegetable, but once you learn the numerous ways to preserve and cook with them, they will become a staple in your garden. If you don’t like radishes, you have to try them roasted! Instead of having a peppery flavor, the process of roasting them turns the flavor sweet.

Radishes are a wonderful vegetable to grow if you are teaching children how to garden because of how quickly they grow!  They give a near “instant gratification” when speaking in terms of the plant world. They are able to be harvested in as little as three weeks.

Letting children join in on the gardening process teaches them how to be more self-sufficient and helps them to learn where their food comes from. I have also noticed that my children tend to be more willing to try new foods when they helped grow and harvest them.

There are numerous different types of radishes to choose from, so keep in mind the time of year you are planting and also what you want to use them for. For example, Easter Egg Radishes are perfect for growing in the spring. Daikon radishes are better grown in the late summer and are considered a winter radish that can be used to make Kimchi.

Growing Radishes

Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed! They are hearty and can be grown from early in the spring to late summer. They do not need a designated area in the garden and can instead be easily interplanted with other vegetables to fill in unused space.

  • Radishes do not need to be started indoors due to the short amount of time it takes them to reach maturity.
  • For spring planting, directly sow radish seeds approximately 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in your region. Radishes can be planted until approximately 6 weeks before the first frost in the fall.
  • Radishes prefer full-sun, so be sure to plant them in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day.
  • Generally speaking, seeds need to be sown approximately 1/2 inch deep and one inch apart. Different varieties may require different spacing, so always follow the directions on the back of the seed packet.
  • Be sure to thin out the seedlings to at least two inches apart when they are approximately 2-3 inches tall. This will allow room for the rapidly expanding radish to grow.
  • Utilize succession planting by re-seeding every 7-10 days. This will ensure you have a steady supply of radishes instead of a large harvest at once.
  • Radishes do best in cooler weather, so it is best not to grow them during the height of the summer months.
  • Be sure to keep the soil moist, but do not over-water the soil. Radishes prefer soil that is neither soggy or too dry.
  • Promptly harvest radishes when they are around 1 inch in diameter at the surface if the soil.

Preserving Radishes

There are several different ways you can preserve radishes which include fermenting, storing in the refrigerator, and freezing. Picking a preservation method is really dependent on what you want to use the radishes for so keep that in mind when planning.

Fermenting

If you are new to fermenting, radishes are a perfect vegetable to experiment with. The process may sound complicated, but it is actually quite simple and hardly takes any time at all. Before I started fermenting, it seemed foreign and intimidating. Once I tried it for the first time I realized how easy it was to preserve vegetables by fermenting. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this Complete Starter Kit by Nourished Essentials. This kit provides everything you need to successfully ferment your own foods like kimchi and pickled radishes.

Refrigerating

Radishes tend to lose their crisp, fresh taste fairly quickly if not preserved correctly. Following these few simple steps will keep your radishes fresh for over a week!

  • Remove dirt and debris by thoroughly washing the radishes.
  • Cut off the green stem and both ends of each radish. Don’t forget that the greens are edible so be sure to set those aside!
  • Fill a large mason jar or bowl with water and submerge the radishes in the water.
  • Store in the refrigerator for approximately one week.

Freezing

Freezing radishes does change the texture, so keep that in mind when planning your meals. Frozen radishes make a great addition to soups!

  • Remove dirt and debris by thoroughly washing the radishes.
  • Cut off the green stem and both ends of each radish.
  • Slice each radish into several pieces leaving the skin intact.
  • Place the radishes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes (this process is called blanching).
  • Immediately transfer radishes to a bowl of ice cold water.
  • Once cooled, place in freezer bags.

Recipes for Radishes

One of the things I love about radishes is that they are so versatile to cook with. The most obvious way to eat radishes is to add them raw into salads, which is a simple and delicious way to utilize them. You can also saute the radish greens like you would kale or spinach! Listed below are several different delicious ways to cook with radishes. Enjoy!

Radish-Leaf Pesto

Garlic Roasted Radishes

Radish Cole Slaw

Radish Salsa

Radish Leaf Salad Dressing

Radish Chimichurri

Grilled Radish Skewers

Discover how to start growing radishes in your garden, along with how to preserve radishes and use them in your everyday cooking!

Photos by Chelsea Lusk Photography

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