Local radishes are one of the first fresh vegetables you’ll see at the farmers markets this spring. Radishes come in different colors, shapes and sizes.
A radish has a crisp texture when raw, and a slight peppery flavor. They are great thinly sliced in a salad, but can also be cooked.
A cooked radish has less spicy flavor, and thus it is easier to eat more of them. They can be used as a low carb alternative to potatoes.
Pickling local radishes are great too, as their crunchy texture lends well to pickling.
The spice of a radish depends on the variety, but also on the weather, the growing conditions, and how long before they were harvested.
Growing Local Radishes
Radishes are one of the easiest and quickest crops to grow. They grow in spring and fall, and some varieties can be ready to harvest as early as three weeks after sowing.
Since they are so quick to harvest, it is easy to plant radishes among other crops so you can have double the yield in one space. They are also a great vegetable for kids to grow!
Sow radishes as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Since radishes left in the ground get woody and spicier, rather than sweeter, try planting some every few days rather than having one big harvest.
Overly rich soil will grow more greens than roots. Hot weather will also grow more greens than roots. Though greens can be eaten, if roots are your goal, pay attention to temperature.
If your radishes are too hot for your taste, try harvesting them earlier or sowing a different variety.
Once temperatures hit 65F, stop sowing radishes because the hot weather will make them go to seed rapidly. Longer varieties of radishes often tolerate heat better than the round ones.
Local Radish Varieties
Local radishes can be round or long, and in colors that vary from white, black, red, purple, and green. There are spring and winter varieties of radishes as well.
A winter radish takes twice as long to mature and will keep in the garden or cold area a much longer time. They are sown in the late summer or fall. They tend to have a milder flavor.
Spring local radishes, found now, will be smaller, colorful, and may be available with greens still attached. The greens are edible, with young leaves good raw and older leaves good in soups and stews.
Local radishes should be crisp and crunchy. Flavors will range from mild with a slight pepper taste to much spicier. Daikons, red, and French varieties are milder. Black radishes are much sharper.
Daikon radishes are white, long, and look like large white carrots. They are eaten raw, cooked, or pickled, often in Asian cuisine. Greens are peppery. The roots are milder than spring radishes.
Daikons are usually much bigger than the spring radishes. They can be sized from 6 inches long to longer than your arm.
Preserving Local Radishes
Radishes stay fresh on your counter in cool water for 2-4 days. If you want your fresh local radishes to last longer, then you need to store them in other ways.
Keep your local radishes submerged in a glass jar in the fridge for 10 days, or up to two weeks in a plastic bag, separating rows of radishes by damp towels.
Spring radishes won’t last for long, but winter radishes can keep for months in root cellar-like environments. Store your winter radishes in damp sand, and they could last until February.
If you are growing winter radishes, you can leave them in place, well mulched, to store long term.
You can also preserve radishes by freezing, as long as you plan to cook them afterwards. They won’t stay crisp like fresh.
Local Radish Recipes
Local radishes are great on salads, but there are many different recipes out there to try! Since radishes grow so quickly and easily, it’s worth it to find fun ways to enjoy them.
Eating your local radish greens is a great way to not waste your food.
Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes are just one of the many ways you can try pickling your local radishes.
Try roasting your local radishes and trying different herbs or spices on them. Roasting can tame the bite of radishes that are too spicy for you.
If you are eating low carb, then these Loaded Radishes may be a good substitute for potatoes.
Local Radish Trivia
Radishes have been cultivated since before Roman times. In fact, radish seed oil was a thing before Egyptians discovered olive oil!
Buy some local radishes at the farmers market this spring, or try growing your own! Try different types, different recipes, and learn how best you enjoy radishes.