Radishes are a spicy, crunchy, early season vegetable, that some people love and some people, well, don’t. In my market garden I grow radishes every year to sell, even though I am not that fond of them myself. Over the years, though, I have come to find another part of the radish plant that I do like–the seed pods. The seed pods are not nearly as hot as the root, and when picked young, are crunchy and delicious. Any type of radish can be grown for the pods, though certain varieties are grown specifically for the pod (Rat-tail Radish).
Here are other benefits of growing radishes for the pods rather than the roots:
- You can let them grow without constantly checking them to see if they are ready, or the roots cracking, or having perfect radishes.
- By letting them flower you encourage all types of beneficial insects to your garden.
- Flowering radishes help deter cucumber beetles, so plant them with your cucumber plants.
- More bang for your buck. Each radish plant will produce 10 times more volume in pods than it’s single root.
- You get seed! Let a few go a few days beyond the edible stage and then you have plenty of seed for next year.
- It’s something unique and different for your kitchen or market stand.
- Radishes grown for the pods really require no special care. Even if the roots or leaves are bothered, the pods will be fine.
- Harvest the whole plant at one time when there are two or so flowers left on the end of the seed stalks. Some of the bottom seed pods might get spongy and fibrous, which is undesirable, if left too long. The pods should be crisp and juicy inside with the seeds still forming.
- Starting at the bottom of the stalk, run your hand up along the stalk towards the top to pull all the pods off in one fell swoop.
- Radish flowers are also edible.
How to eat them?
- Sauteed with garlic and olive oil.
- Add to a stir fry.
- Pureed into a spicy sandwich spread.
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