I never was a fan of radishes till I started growing my own and trying different varieties. I’ve grown French breakfast because they’re so pretty, cherry bell for the same reason, black Spanish radishes and long white Japanese radishes. Most of them ended up on the plate at Bei Amici and Felix transformed them into thin slivers of crunchy loveliness that made me change the way I viewed them.
Because I save and grow my own seed when I can, I decided to let some grow and see what would happen. Not only was the mature plant beautiful, I found the flowers and pods were edible and delicious. There is actually a variety called a Rats Tail Radish that has very long pods and is specifically grown for its edible pods. I may get around to growing it one day.
Radish Pods are crunchy pops of biting goodness. When their mildly offensive strength of flavour is softened with olive oil and salted herbs, they become so totally amazing. Serve raw in salads or they can be blanched and quickly refreshed in ice water. Add radish flowers after tossing the pods in olive oil so they remain as soft as butterfly wings.
When I left the farm I brought select plants with me and somehow in all the cross pollinating that invariably happened I ended up growing a radish with beautiful purple stems and pods with pretty pink flowers. I saved the seeds and this season grew out a dense planting and was surprised to see a small number of burgundy cotyledons amongst the usual green. These I have separated to grow to maturity and have hopes to develop a new purple podded variety.
Radishes flowering at the farm in the foreground. They really do make a lovely garden element that’s tasty as well.