Edible Gardening

Starting Radishes from Seeds

By Nina Koziol

Recipes for Radishes

Sliced thin and served raw, radishes pack a refreshing crunch with few calories. They create a crispy zing in our salads, but their versatility allows them a place in many side dishes. I sometimes use them in dips, and I substitute sliced radishes for cucumbers on a sandwich. They’re especially good sliced paper thin and placed on a chunky piece of buttered French bread. Yum!


Crunchy Radish Dip

This pinkish all-purpose dip can be used with chips, crackers, bread or vegetable strips.

8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup finely chopped radishes (with or without the skin)

Stir all the ingredients together. Refrigerate for several hours.


A Few of My Favorite Radish Varieties

April Cross: This Asian daikon radish grows almost 15 inches long in about 60 days and can weigh up to a pound.

Black Spanish: Conquistadors brought this radish to North America in the 16th century. Its turnip-shaped black roots and white flesh are ready to harvest in about 60 or more days.  Plant in early to late summer to mature during cool fall weather.

China Rose: Jesuit missionaries from China introduced this radish to Europe about 1850. It grows 6- to 8-inches long and 2 inches wide. Sow in spring or fall.

Easter Egg: This crisp, mild globe-shaped radish produces roots in a variety of colors in 28 days.

French Breakfast: A French favorite since the 1880s, pick this one when small—about 2 inches long.  Harvest in 20 to 30 days.

German Beer (Munchen Bier): A favorite around Munich, this is an old European radish with large white tapering roots. Harvest in 60 to 70 days.The oval white radishes grow up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. The interior is crisp with some pungency. To reduce the heat, peel off the outer layer of skin. Best planted in summer for fall harvest.

Fuego: Bred in the U.S. this crunchy, long barrel-shaped radish is a deep scarlet red. Harvest in 25 days.

Hailstone: This pure white-skinned radish has firm crunchy flesh. Harvest in 23 to 30 days.

Mantanghong: This long-season radish (75 days) is mild and sweet. The outer skin has a slightly pungent flavor.

Miyashige: This 14- to 16-inch long daikon prized in Japan offers a mild, crisp flavor. It is best sown in late summer for harvest in 55 to 65 days.

Minowase:  A daikon radish that grows to 18 inches long. Matures in about 55 days. In mild areas, plant in fall for winter harvest. In colder climates, plant in early spring or mid-summer for fall harvest.

Plum Purple: The appealing purple color and its firm crispy texture and mild flavor are reasons enough to grow this interesting radish. You can harvest it in about 25 days.

Rebel: A red uniform globe-shaped radish, this one can be harvested in 25 to 30 days.

Round Red Core Shrinmei Daikon: This 4-inch ball-shaped radish hails from China where its name means “beauty heart.”  It is white with a green top and red core. Sow seeds in late summer; 50 to 60 days to harvest.

White Icicle (also called Lady Finger): Gardeners in the U.S. were growing this prized radish before 1896. Grows 4 to 5 inches long. Harvest in 30 days.


Where to Buy Radish Seeds

Look for radish seeds at most garden centers. For a wide selection of heirloom and new varieties — I counted at least 40. Onnline sources:

*  Park’s Seeds www.parkseed.com

*  Seed Savers Exchange, www.seedsavers.org

*  Seeds of Change Inc., www.seedsofchange.com

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