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, 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.
- radish pods
- garlic cloves several, peeled
- herbs favorite, 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
- pure water enough to submerse each pint
Collect your radish pods and clean them under running water.
Gently pat dry and pack into clean pint-sized (wide mouth) 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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I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever let mine go to seed – I generally just end up pouting that they got too woody to eat and bolted and pull them out. So the fact that there are PODS is quite surprising to me! About how many pods are produced per plant and how many plants would you suggest letting go to seed to get an appropriate quantity all at one time for this recipe?
Jenny Cazzola says
Pamela, it is hard to say but one plant, if left to go to seed, will get to be quite large. I would say that mine, pictured above were about 3′ tall and spread more than 2′. They will put out branches, and each branch will put out several pods. Depending on how much space you have, I would let at least 2-3 plants go to seed. That many should get you at least one pint of pickled pods. I hope you enjoy letting them bolt. The flowers are really pretty!
I’ve never heard of eating the radish pod before! Love being able to use every little bit from the garden. No radishes at the moment, but will file away to remember for the future!
Can you/would you want to still eat the radish greens at this point? and is there anything you can do with the radish itself (soup, stock)? I’m a first time gardener and I forgot to pay attention to my radishes so they’re all flowering!
Jenny Cazzola says
Stephanie, at this point I personally would not eat the greens. I think they are better when they are much younger. If you didn’t want anything to go to waste, I’d harvest the pods and then compost the greens and the root.
Monica Skinner says
how do you keep the pods green in a pickled process, or will they fade anyway ?…..and can you buy “whey” ?
You can just buy organic plain yogurt and use the clear liquid that separates (which is whey) or you can strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth for even more whey. I personally don’t like to use whey, I like to let the salt lacto ferment the veggies and allow them to create their own cultures.
Hi… I discovered that on my vegetable garden 3 years ago… when I sow it the first time growing flowers and the beans was so cute.. I did a bite and loved it so much…my dog rescue lab mix loves it too… I use it itself, saladas and i was wondering if I can ferment them… then I sow your recipes…thank u!
I have found that letting a few radishes grow up near zucchini helps repel squash borer bugs.