Radishes can actually be pretty rad

This fast growing spring crop is often overlooked but is full of flavor.

Photo credit: Mariel Borgman

Photo credit: Mariel Borgman

Radishes aren’t usually at the top of most people’s shopping list but they are packed with vitamin C and spice. Many school gardens plant radishes because they can be planted in the early spring and grow quickly (about 30 days from planting to harvest). They also come in many sizes, shapes and colors. It is fun to try new varieties and taste-test interesting recipes. 

One recipe you might like comes from the Michigan Farmers Market Association and Michigan State University’s Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski. This recipe calls for the use of the entire radish, greens and all, plus a little butter and heavy cream. You will find this recipe online and click on the “resources” link and then look for “Recipe Cards.” Pinterest is another great source of radish recipes. Michigan State University Extension’s Michigan Fresh project has a radishes Pinterest board with eleven free recipes including: pickled radishes, cucumber, radish and avocado gazpacho and a tutorial for beautiful radish flowers. 

Radishes grow well in Michigan and you find them in many farmers markets from May to October throughout the state. Tom Cary and Katie Brandt of Groundswell Farm in Zeeland, Michigan planted their first crop in the greenhouse at the end of March. Some of their favorite varieties include: German Giant, Easter egg mix (a group of red, white and purple radishes), and Cherriette, a standard red radish. Groundswell Farm sells their radishes at area farmers markets and provides them as part of their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares

Michigan State University Extension recommends radishes be thoroughly washed before eating raw. If radishes were purchased with the leaves attached, remove the tops unless they will be served the same day. Storing radishes for any length of time with the leaves left on will cause loss of nutrients and moisture, so if you plan to eat the greens (they are peppery and a good compliment to salads), remove them from the radish root and store separately. The greens will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator. To store radish roots, place them in a plastic bag (if they are not already packaged) and store in the refrigerator. Most varieties will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator. 

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