Did you plant your garden this weekend? And did you plant some radishes? Good for you! In about 4 weeks, they’ll be ready to eat. You’ll probably forget to harvest them, though, and a few weeks later, all the tender little radishes will have turned tough and woody and bitter, and you’ll be overcome with guilt.
The good news: wait another week or three, and the radishes will produce edible seed pods. And I don’t mean edible as in “foodies will insist that you can eat these but really you wouldn’t want to, because they’re icky.”
I mean edible as in damn tasty. They have the peppery flavor of the radish roots, but a crunchy pop-in-your-mouth texture, making them kind of like spicy, perfectly crispy green beans. In fact, a salad of quick-pickled green beans and radish pods would probably be quite good.
I never knew they were edible until a few weeks ago, when some neighbors stopped to chat about the garden. One commented on my watermelon radishes, which I hadn’t gotten around to digging up after they bolted.
I was skeptical, but she insisted they were good, and told me how she likes to mash the pods with garlic and lemon to make a spread for flatbread. I had a party coming up, so I figured I’d try making the spread.
Pro tip: don’t get one of those silly little mortar and pestles that come in a nesting set of three. Total waste of money. Just get the proper big kind. Or, you know, a food processor.
Despite blending difficulties, my half-smashed mix — 2 handfuls of watermelon radish pods, a clove of garlic, a big squeeze of lemon, some salt, and a glug of olive oil — was a huge hit, as were the raw pods. At this point, I’m ready to plant more seeds just for the pods.
Any type of radish will grow edible pods. If you’re buying seeds, look for ones bred specifically for the size, flavor, and tenderness of their pods: the unfortunately named “Rat-tailed radishes” and the brilliantly named German “München Bier” radishes are two popular varieties. (Okay, I’m guessing “münchen bier” doesn’t actually translate to “munch with beer,” but I’m sure that’s the subtext.)
How to eat radish pods:
- chopped into salads
- smashed with garlic and lemon
- in curries
- in succotash
- sautéed or stir-fried
- raw, straight off the stem