How to Harvest, Store, & Use Radishes
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Radishes are one of the first vegetables ready for harvest in a late spring (or fall) garden. This makes them particularly exciting. But for some, the excitement of that beautiful red radish harvest is lessened when they can’t figure out what to do with radishes!
Yes, radishes have a crisp peppery bite to them, but don’t let that fool you. Use that kick to your advantage, or learn to tone it down, and you’ll have tons of lovely radish-based dishes to choose from.
If you’re thinking of trying radishes in your garden, we recommend both the French Breakfast variety and the lovely Pink Beauty from Renees Garden. If you can’t decide, you could also try a fun five-color garden party mix to really add some color to your plate.
When to Harvest Radishes
Radishes are best harvested when they are big enough to pop their head up out of the ground. Don’t wait too long to harvest your radishes, though. Overgrown radishes can split and get soft. If you have a whole row of radishes planted, you can harvest them in batches as they get bigger. Just work your way down the row choosing the biggest ones each time.
If you are not going to use your radishes right away, be sure to pick when the ground is fairly dry so that the radishes will not have excess moisture on them.
How to Store Radishes
Radishes are like other root vegetables (carrots, beets, etc.) in that they like to be stored quickly in a space that can keep them a little bit moist without growing mold.
First, chop of their greens when you bring them inside, leaving just a little tuft of green. You can use the radish greens in a salad or sauteed like kale (yum), but if you leave them attached to the radishes they will get all limp and the radishes themselves will get soft.
Second, brush the dirt off the radishes but don’t wash them. You don’t want to introduce new moisture to the equation. You can easily wash the radishes when you are ready to use them.
Third, store the radishes. If you just have a handful or a dozen that you plan to use soon, you can store them in a resealable plastic bag in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. Alternatively, to keep them nice and crisp you can also store them in a mason jar covered with cold water (we find this method does not last as long as a simple bag but is great if you are going to use them soon). If you have a lot of radishes, you can also store radishes in a box with wood shavings, like this carrot storage method.
How to use Radishes
OK, so you have all of these lovely radishes harvested and stored. How are you going to use them?
Shredded Radishes: Yes, you can slice or shred radishes to add them to a green salad for dinner, but shredding them makes them an even easier ingredient or topping for a variety of other salads. For example, include them in a soba noodle salad, as part of a lettuce wrap platter, or to add some punch to your potato salad. This Summer Side Dish recipe from The Hayes’ Homestead takes that idea up a notch with a potato salad that also includes avocado, corn, and radish!
Roasted Raddishes: Roasting radishes takes away some of the bite, my Instagram friends tell me. This article from The Kitchn confirms that claim. Roasting radishes, they tells us, makes them sweet instead of spicy. They’re also really easy and quick to roast (just wash them and chop them in half) and add great color when mixed with other veggies. This Roasted Radish Recipe from Taste of Home is on our menu.
Sautéd Radishes: Like roasting, sautéing radishes can help take away the bite and add some yummy flavor. Nelly at The Little Rustic Baker recommends sautéing with a little bit of French butter and sea salt, similar to this Sauteed Radish Recipe from Epicurious which also makes use of the leaves in the same dish.
Chipped Radishes: One of the more unusual suggestions I got from my Instagram friends was to dehydrate radishes with some garlic powder and salt and pepper to make chips (Thanks @marbleshappyhens!). I’ve definitely eaten a variety of veggie chips and even made them myself but I haven’t ventured into Radish chips. Here’s a simple Baked Radish Chip Recipe from The Genius Kitchen. You can also try doing this in your dehydrator to avoid the added oil.
Pickled Radishes: Ok, so this idea is last on my list because I am only slowly coming around to the taste of pickled veggies. I enjoy a sweet bread and butter pickle on a sandwich and am slowly adjusting my taste buds to the more sour dill version. Better Homes & Gardens’ simple radish pickling instructions make this sound easy, and the little bit of sugar might help my adjusting taste buds 😊. Chowhound has a recipe for Bread and Butter Radishes that adds some pickling spices to the mix.