Plump, garden-fresh radishes are a revelation. Seventh-grader Steven Constanza shares with us what a kick they are to grow—and eat. Read on for tips on gardening, shopping for, and preparing these peppery treats.
How to Grow
If you can sow, you can grow! Radishes are easy.
SOW IN A SUNNY SPOT
Choose light, rich soil in a bed or large pot. Gently push the large seeds 1/2-inch deep into soil at least 1 inch apart. Allow 6 inches between rows, as the tops can grow 6-12 inches tall and wide.
CHOOSE GOOD COMPANIONS
Mix and match varieties like those Steven and his classmates grew, such as Easter Egg and D'Avignon. Plant with rows of quick-growing lettuces and longer-to-mature carrots, creating elbow rooms for the carrots as you harvest.
Beloved by beginners for big seeds, easy sowing, and fast harvest time, radishes give near-instant gratification when seedling leaves appear in just a few days. Harvest when roots are almost the size of golf balls (or pinky fingers, for slender varieties), about 45-50 days.
How to Shop
Drop a bundle in your basket, and aim to use both the roots and the greens.
BUY BEFORE IT GETS TOO HOT
Available year-round at most grocers, radishes, are at their peak in spring and fall. Those grown in hot summer climates can get a little spicy. Some of Steven's harvests were "like peppers—sometimes [they] feel like they are burning your tongue."
When shopping at local farm stands, it's easy to ask the grower about freshness; he or she can tell you the day the radishes were harvested. At stores, look for firm radishes with leaves still attached. Seek bundles with greens that are vibrant and not at all wilted.
TRY A VARIETY
Color and shape vary, from globes of Easter Egg and Pink Beauty to long. slender types such as French Breakfast. Harvests of red, pink, and white make for candy-like displays at the school's student-run market and can jazz up your own salads and crudités platters. for the showiest options, seek out watermelon radishes, which have a vibrant magenta interior.
Radishes require little embellishment at the peak of their season. The mild peppery bite of this humble root veggie is the perfect complement to a buttery miso glaze.
We love the interplay of crunchy, peppery radishes with refreshingly tangy yogurt spread. If you can, use a variety of radishes for more color.
About Our Partners School gardens are trending, and we couldn't be happier—they're a great way to expose kids to fresh food and encourage healthier eating. That's why we've partnered with Birmingham, Alabama-based Jones Valley Teaching Farm. Through their Farm Labs at local elementary and middle schools, JVTF staffers engage students in project-based learning centered on fresh vegetables and fruits. The five Farm Lab outposts resonate with kids where computers can't: in the sunshine and in the dirt. Visit jvtf.org to learn more, or go to edibleschoolyard.org for resources in your area.