What Do You Do With Radishes

May 8, 2015 at 8:49 am

It’s All a Matter of Emphasis


radishes - tm csa

What: Radishes have been showing up in my Tomato Mountain CSA box* for a few weeks. Local radishes are also available at operating farmer’s markets. It’s an easy crop to find. For one thing, it manages just fine in the cold, the Farmer’s Almanac says plant them well before the last frost date. Then, those little orbs are ready in like 3 weeks. No patience required. Finally, to keep on chugging out those CSA boxes, you can plant and re-plant and re-harvest radishes.  They’re what’s here now and what will be here for a while until it gets too hot.

Do: So, is it a blessing or a curse, piles of radishes. Do you treat them like food? Be real. Do you practice your garniture skills, make one decent rose, compost the rest, and call it plating. Like many (most) tastes of Spring, the radish has bite. The earth wants to wake up our palate after a winter of roots and rich meats. Do you fear the little package of assertiveness? At best is it one slice on a pile of greens you call salad?

Photo courtesy of Mark Mendez/Vera Chicago

Photo courtesy of Mark Mendez/Vera Chicago

You: Are not the type to shirk from an early seasonal bounty. You want to play with your food. Take full advantage of something that is not spinach or asparagus this time of year.  Is there any better way to have your radishes than the way our friend and sponsor, Vera did, with a mound of Nordic Creamery butter and some sea salt.  Are you a minimalist.  Do the simple things in life satisfy.  Is there any more mindful way of eating than a plate of radishes facing you.  You are willing to tackle this crop for sure.


Do: What happens when the emphasis is at the end? What do you do with all your radishes. You’ve thrown a few into salads. Tried méthode de français. They’re still a-comin, what to do. Do treat your radishes like any other root vegetable. As Local Beet Founder, Michael Morowitz said of any root, “grate it or roast it.” This Local Family has had success with both. I especially like mating my radish slaws with other strong flavors like dry cured olives or capers.  In North African cuisine, radishes are often paired with citrus.  Roasting does not dull their bite, but it does add a touch of sweetness to make for an interesting marriage.  Do try.

Where do you like to put your emphasis on this Spring favorite?

*One of the Local Family works for Tomato Mountain