Radishes. They’re temperamental at times. They can grow into beautiful orbs of peppery goodness or you can turn your back on them and they can bolt, leaving you with harsh, hot and practically inedible roots. But don’t despair! Just let those darn things in the ground and set your sights on the “second harvest” of radishes. Their seed pods!
Radish seed pods are edible and give you a milder radish-y taste. There is actually a variety of radish that you can grow specifically for the pod (they will not produce an actual radish bulb). They are called Rat Tail Radishes. Whether you grow Rat Tail Radishes or any other variety of radishes, harvesting the seed pods are smart. They are great raw. Use them in salads or on a platter with other crudites. Or, if you’d like to save them for later, pickle them, like I’ve done here.
If you’d like, leave a few radishes in your garden on purpose to go to seed. Gather the pods before they flower. Like a lot of veggies, the smaller they are…the more tender they are. I try to get them at medium size. Here’s what you do: (This recipe assumes that you are familiar with water bath canning. If you are not, please familiarize yourself before attempting).
After gathering the pods, snap off the stem that you will certainly have attached to most of them. Start your water bath canner and sterilize your jars. (I use pint jars, usually only have enough for two of them at a time) Put your canning lids in a small saucepan and simmer.
Meanwhile, prepare the brine. You will be using 50/50 water/vinegar. Simply measure the brine according to how much you are making. For instance, if you are making two pints…Fill one pint jar with vinegar and one with water. Put them into a sauce pan. For each pint you are making, use 1 tablespoon of canning salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add that to the brine. Bring the brine to a boil.
Put a bay leaf into the bottom of your sterilized jars. Pack your radish pods into the jars. Pour the brine over the pods, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Put the lids on finger-tight. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
And there you have it! You can certainly use any pickling brine that you may already love for this recipe. Don’t you just love veggies that give you a second chance and yumminess?