The “other” radish harvest provides a taste of spring

The “other” radish harvest provides a taste of spring

There’s always a few spring planted radishes which never head up. I also planted a packet a little late in the season, hoping to harvest the roots before it got hot.

Radish seed pods are tasty and plentiful. Photos by Doug Oster

In both cases, anything that didn’t form a root was left to flower and then produce seed pods. These pods taste remarkably like a radish and you’ll harvest lots of them. There’s even a variety of radishes with the lovely name of ‘Rat Tail’ from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds that doesn’t form a root, but a long bean like seed pod. Another bonus is that the flowers are attractive to pollinators. Gardeners that help pollinators, get help from those pollinators in the garden.

They are best harvested when young and most of the recipes I’ve seen involve pickling them. My favorite way to use them is either raw in salads, which always confused guests, or sauteed in some butter with fresh garlic.

I also left some plants alone and as the pods get bigger they will eventually turn brown, hard and will produce seed which can be planted in the fall when things cool down. Radishes love cool weather and perform best in good garden soil amended with compost.

Harvest the tasty roots, but don’t discount the seed pods as a fun and plentiful treat.

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