Radishes are a favorite crop in our homestead garden. They are easy to grow and we enjoy the many heirloom varieties available. Since they grow so quickly, I use them as a pretty marker between my rows of peas and lettuce. Occasionally I plant more than we can eat or harvest to preserve for later, so I allow them to go to seed. The radishes produce beautiful little flowers and seed pods perfect for a garden snack! 🙂
Radish pods, resembling tiny peppers, have a sharp peppery flavor similar to that of the radish root we're used to eating. Pickling the radishes calms down the sharp bite and makes them perfect as a surprise addition to the relish tray at dinner.
I prefer to use whey and salt to ferment my pickles as opposed to the conventional method using vinegar. This method is not only a healthier alternative, but it is very easy for the gardener after a long morning working outside.
I enjoy the convenience of bringing my produce in from outside and letting it drain in the sink while I line up my clean jars and ingredients. I can then quickly prepare my pickles, assembly-line fashion, and avoid the hot stove and stress of conventional canning.
Once your radishes begin to bloom, keep an eye out for the pods. You'll get just a short amount of time to harvest them while they are still nice and tender. I have found that the larger they get, the more tough and fibrous they become.
- radish pods
- pint-sized jars (wide mouth)
- several peeled garlic cloves
- favorite herbs (I like thyme, or dill plus mustard seed)
- 2 tablespoons whey (per pint) — or omit and double the salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt (per pint)
- enough water to submerse each pint
Collect your radish pods and clean them under running water. Gently pat dry and pack into clean pint-sized jars. Add a few cloves of peeled garlic and any herbs you’d like for flavor. Some of my favorites are a few sprigs of fresh thyme, or a few sprigs of dill with a teaspoon of mustard seed. For every pint of radish pods, add 2 tablespoons of whey, 1-1/2 teaspoons of sea salt, and enough water cover the ingredients completely.
Your jars should be filled up to about 1 inch from their rims. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently combine. To keep the pods covered with the pickling liquid, add a regular sized jar lid (I use Tatler’s) to serve as a small weight. Cover the jar with a lid and screw band. Seal.
Allow them to sit on the counter 2 to 3 days before removing to cold storage. They will taste their best after they have been allowed to steep for about 2 weeks. Stored in the refrigerator, they should be good for several months.
What are some of your favorite summer crops to pickle and preserve? What else do you do with radish pods?
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