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Five Simple Radish Recipes to Use Up That Garden Full Of Radishes
Radishes are very versatile vegetables, but the many ways they can be prepared and eaten are seldom explored
By now, you've planted and are harvesting the radishes you love. Whether they're mild or very hot, you've hopefully raised your favorite kinds.
In Greek, the word "radish" actually means "fast appearing", and it lives up to its name. You have a bounty, and your neighbors are beginning to run from you rather than accept more of the too many radishes you planted.
If you're looking for more ways to use your radishes, there are many, many ways that aren't traditional in America, but are normal in other countries. And there are ways that were used here at one time, but have been forgotten.
Most people today seem to throw away radish greens. Eat them!
If you're thinning the small plants, wash those little radishes with their tops and put them in a salad. Radishes are cruciferous, so the greens of all radishes are edible. You can even cook them. But taste the greens first - some greens, such as those of the black radish, can be more pungent than others.
If you have a favorite turnip or parsnip recipe, try substituting radishes. Generally, radishes can also be used in recipes that call for turnips, and sometimes for parsnips.
Five simple radish recipes and recipe variations that are pleasing to the palate
1. Marinated (pickled) radishes - you've been, I'm sure, loading down every salad in sight with your fresh radishes. However, have you tried marinated radishes? Slice radishes thin and mix with thinly sliced cucumbers and sweet onions. Then marinate the veggie mixture in vinegar overnight. My favorites are rice wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar, but try whatever vinegar you like. You can also vary your marinade by adding crushed garlic, dill, tarragon or other spices that you like.
The French eat a lot of radishes, and the French Breakfast Radish is one of my favorites. They pickle beautifully. However, I don't know of any radish that doesn't pickle well . If you'd like to make a jar of pickled radishes for use in sandwiches and as a nice taste treat on salads or noodles, here's a treat for you. (This quick pickled radish dish also makes a great and easy guest gift if you're going to dinner at a friend's house soon.)
Heat a cup each of water and white vinegar with 2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of sugar in a saucepan. Boil until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Take the saucepan from the heat and add garlic, peppercorns, and some dill (or experiment with your favorite pickling or savory seasoning spices - even chilies!). Pack the cleaned radishes in a jar or other container. Pour the hot liquid over the radishes until they are covered. Let them sit until the liquid is cooled. Put the container in the fridge, and use it after it's been working for about 24 hours. If your radishes are red, the liquid will become a pleasing rosy color. This great pickled dish will last a month in the refrigerator.
2. Radish in a sandwich - radishes make a great addition to a sandwich. A great meatless summer sandwich is always begins with a chewy bread or roll. Then add radish, cucumber, sweet or green onion, a fresh tomato - all sliced thin - spinach or fresh lettuce, cilantro and avacado. You can add stone ground mustard, butter or mayo for even extra goodness. Don't forget that you can use those pickled radishes in a sandwich, too.
Or, if you're the adventurous type and like sweet onion sandwiches, try a whole bunch of thin sliced radishes, either in addition to the sweet onion, or instead of it. The other ingredients are a great bread and good salted butter. That's it. Sandwich complete.
3. Roasted radishes - if you roast other veggies in the oven or grill them, add radishes to that vegetable mix. For the oven, lay the veggies on a cookie sheet. Then drizzle olive or grape seed oil on them and roll them around in it until they're all well covered. Season them with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees until the radish can be pierced easily with a fork, but is not soft.
If you're doing a kabob on the grill, cut large radishes in half. Then add the radishes to the kabob.
4. A simple radish and carrot slaw - grate equal parts of radish and carrots until you have the quantity you want. Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and roasted sesame oil as the dressing. Yum!
5. Stir-fried radishes - add radishes to a stir-fry of vegetables and meat. If your radishes are very hot, they'd go well with beef. If they're mild, they'd go well with chicken or fish. Radishes taste great with a variety of sauces, so experiment with confidence. Just lean towards bolder flavors with hotter radishes and milder, more subtle flavors with milder radishes.
Radishes work very well in a winter garden, too.
Don't forget that you can raise radishes in your winter garden, too. Daikons especially like cool growing seasons, and can become quite huge while remaining tender. So think about the radish possibilities along with your other winter crops.