My first radishes started maturing this week, a month after sowing. With so many crops that take two or three months to start producing a harvest, it’s nice to have something that feels (almost) like instant gratification.
Nevertheless, I was a little disappointed with the result. I planted Easter Egg Radish Mix, for the variety of colors as well as the extended harvest period. The Southern Exposure catalog didn’t mention, though, that Easter Egg radishes are pretty mild. My favorite way to eat radishes–a recipe I picked up in France–is sliced on top of buttered bread. The butter helps cut the spiciness. The only problem is, if your radishes aren’t very spicy to begin with, like these Easter Eggs, you won’t get the slightest zing when you eat them with butter.
The other thing that I could have anticipated but somehow failed to notice in the seed catalog is that all the Easter Egg radishes, whatever color, are round. This makes them very cute, but they’re less sliceable. And the slices are of varying diameters, making for less uniform presentation. I realized that what I really wanted were the radishes I grew in France. They’re a kind called “demi-longs“–half-long–and have a very distinctive cylindrical shape, mostly pink with a white tip. My favorite seed company, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, doesn’t currently carry them (maybe I’ll have to suggest it to them!). But with a little internet research, I’ve found these radishes advertised by Gurney’s as “French Breakfast.” I think I may have to get some, if not this year then next.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my radishes in other ways, where the little heat they have will be more detectable. I’ll have them cut up on salads, with a very light vinaigrette. And of course I’ll eat some plain–straight from the dirt!
Question: Does anyone eat radish leaves? Maybe as a potherb? Or to give a mustardy flavor to salads?
It turns out that Easter Egg radishes are hot, but only once they get a little bigger. You have to let them mature to about a quarter size to get the heat!