Radish Seed Pods (and Some Pickles)

Young radish seed pods

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.

Flowering radish plants

The green pods appear a few weeks after the radishes are past their picking prime.

Radish seed pods and white blossoms

Slender green seed pods on a radish plant

A long stem of radish seed pods

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.

Young, tender radish seed pods

Radish seed pod harvest

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.

Pickled radish seed pods

Quick pickled sweet 'n spicy radish seed pods

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!

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April 22 2013      68 comments     Linda Ly
En La Cocina   Jardín   Verduras

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  • Aparna

    I need some advice please. I have sown carrot, radish and beet seeds in pots. Can I transplant them in the ground?

    • It depends on how large the seedlings are. I’d wait until they have a couple sets of true leaves before putting them in the ground. For carrots, I’d transplant them when they’re about 3-4 inches tall.

      • Aparna

        Thank you 🙂

  • Pingback: A weed is simply a plant that hasn’t gained your favor - Soil and Solidarity – stewardship of & fair access to our food()

  • Michaelsphere

    Garden Betty: Three questions. First, are the full pods edible or just their contents? Second, what do you stir fry them with? Third, may I share an excerpt of this on my blog “Soil and Solidarity”? I love your blog and would love to direct folks to it … also, I think more people need to know about radish pods! Thanks. Michael

    • Yes, the whole pod is edible. You can stir-fry them the way you’d stir-fry any vegetable; I like to do a little oil, garlic, onion as a base, then add radish seed pods and whatever I have in the fridge… mushrooms, bell peppers, squash, etc… some spices, maybe top off with noodles.

      For your blog, please write your own intro and then link directly to this post, as I don’t allow my content to be copied. Thank you!

  • Mist @oceanicwilderness.com

    Interesting! I’ve never left radishes in the ground long enough to let them fruit but I may have to give it a whirl next time. I had seen the rat’s tail before but hadn’t been enticed to try it until now.