Every season, I let a few of my radish plants flower and seed. Some I leave to collect seed for next season, and some I leave to harvest the pods. Amid this tangled mess of vines is a handful of daikon radish plants — plants that had grown over 4 feet tall, full of little white blossoms and slender green pods.
The green pods appear a few weeks after the radishes are past their picking prime.
They form on long, skinny stems alongside white or lavender flowers and if you leave them to mature, they’ll dry up and drop seed.
But harvest them while they’re young, and they become a bonus crop even when the roots are no longer edible. Radish pods taste just like the radishes they spawn from, but more concentrated in flavor. They’re spicy and crunchy and full of snacky goodness, and you can use them anywhere you’d normally use radishes.
All radish plants form edible seed pods, and there is even an heirloom variety called Rat’s Tail radish grown specifically for its large, tender seed pods. But I’ve let all types of radish — from Miyashige daikon to French Breakfast — flower at the end of the season, and they produced delicious pods for weeks. Sow seeds in the spring to harvest pods into fall, and for mild climates, sow seeds again in fall to harvest pods in the spring. Each plant yields dozens of pods — more than enough to toss into a salad or stir-fry.
My favorite way to eat them is to pickle them first. I use this quick pickled sweet ‘n spicy radish recipe to put up an entire harvest. They taste amazing on their own, and even more amazing as a side dish to a bed of rice and some grilled meats. You can even chop them up to use like capers in an omelette, or skewer them on a toothpick to garnish a bloody mary.
These pretty jars of pickled radish pods also make great hostess and housewarming gifts — nobody ever knows what they are, and I love explaining how the entire radish plant (from the roots to the greens to the seeds) is edible!