Radish Relish

Radish is a quick and easy crop, and this is where the flibbertigibbet of season worked in my favour.  I was late getting them in and ordinarily the weather warms up and then all they do is bolt to seed with no sign of a fat bottom at all.  But with the season on constant reset back to very cold after a few days of almost warm enough, I was able to trick my radish into growing perfectly.  And they were fabulous.  Perfectly formed things of beauty.

Perfect french breakfast radish
Perfect French Breakfast Radish. But do the French actually have radish for breakfast?

That is the thing about radish – which are great as an addition to the salad, but they generally don’t sit well as the entire salad…  if you get what I mean.  They are spicy and have that weird brassica flavour that is ok in small doses.   It is funny that everyone recommends them as something for kids to grow because aside from being fast, therefore there is no waiting around for the short attention span of modern kids, but they also look pretty.  But that is where the advantage ends.  Image the disappointment of someone trying this quick growing crop that looks so good you expect it to taste so much better and erring on the sweet side.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the shock hasn’t put would be growers off for life!  It is definitely not a kid friendly flavour and we should get them to grow strawberries or sugar snap peas instead!

Washed radish
They do look deceptively like they should taste of something else

Back to my radish.  I had begun having a few in salads to add their own special something, and the salads were nice.  However, life got really busy for a week or two and my perfect radish kept growing and entered the almost too far gone stage.  I had to act quickly to save the crop and I knew just what I was going to do.  Something I’ve done before.

Topped and tailed radish
The secret to stopping radish going soft after harvest (and other root crops) is to remove the leaves straight after harvesting as the plant is still trying to keep the leaves fresh – at the expense of the bit we want to eat!

Have you ever heard of the tip where you sow radish seeds alongside carrot seeds?  The radish are supposed to help reduce the need for carrot thinning because once you harvest the radish the carrot spacing is perfect.  I’m not convinced on this.  As much as I hate thinning carrots because it seems so wasteful, but I would rather do it than have the alternative.  I tried it one season and ended up giving away radish by the carrier bag full – kilos at a time!  The carrots grew on well enough – but no one needs that much radish.  It was coming out of my ears.

Grated radish and other ingredients
Fortunately I have a device that grates at the touch of a button. I actually hate grating for some weird reason so the device was the best gift ever!

It was then I stumbled across a great recipe for Radish Relish.   You can read more about that over abundant radish situation in my first book The Good Life and find my original recipe for it.  However, this time I didn’t have all the same ingredients so mixed things up a bit.  So long as you don’t alter the ratios for the preserving ingredients – the vinegar, sugar and salt, then you can play with the herbs and spices and flavours to make something different each time.

caraway, dill, fennel seeds and peppercorns
Caraway, dill, fennel seeds and peppercorns are the lucky spices that got to pep up my relish… this time.

So, this is what I did this time.

I washed all the radish and topped and tailed them.  Then I grated them to find out just how much I had – turned out there were 7 cups!  Eek

preserving ingredients
While you can have fun with flavours – follow the amounts / ratios for the preserving ingredients exactly to ensure your relish stays healthy.

The recipe called for a red onion, and I only had a half one in the fridge and some bought browns ones that I need to use up before my harvest comes in – which due any day!  So, I grated those up too.

radish relish ingredients
Radish relish ingredients have to be the prettiest ingredients ever left to soak.

Then I looked at my supplies of spices, which is actually somewhat depleted since our move.  I’m not sure where they all went.  They are probably in a box somewhere, so I had to work with what was there.  I decided on an anise tone and measured out caraway, dill and fennel seeds and some mixed peppercorns.  I used a couple of teaspoons of each.

Stopping to say hi to Santa in the middle of making radish relish isn’t compulsory but won’t harm the soaking relish.

I also decided to use up some store-bought garlic while mine was curing on the back porch.  Waste not want not and all that.  I also found a lemon in the fridge, so I zested and juiced it and added a knob of grated ginger.  I’m not entirely sure the ginger is a match for the other flavours, but it was in the fridge and I was beginning to be a bit free and easy with things that would be good to use up.  Fortunately, this is where I drew the line.

cooking radish relish
It isn’t exactly festive flavours but cooking the relish fills the house with a delightful aroma

Then the important stuff was measured out accurately – white vinegar, salt and sugar.  For three cups of grated radish you need one cup of vinegar and one cup of sugar and two teaspoons of salt.

Jars of radish relish
Pop into sterile jars and seal with your preferred preserving technique.

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and leave for three hours.   You can leave it longer if you have to go and watch the Santa Parade in town.  I found it was still fine.  After soaking, it all takes on a lovely pink colour.

Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat until it thickens into a relish-like consistency – erring on the wet side.  Stir often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

radish relish with crackers and cheese
It actually looks quite festive on the plate and will feature along side cheese often during this holiday period.

Then pop into sterile jars and seal.  If you store it in a dark cupboard it can keep for up to a year.  For my seven cups of grated radish I got four and a half cup sized jars.  They look so pretty they would make a lovely Christmas gift…  if I want to share…

But if you can’t wait, it goes nicely with a crisp cracker and a creamy cheese.   It is a delish tangy, sweet and sour flavour with a slight crunch.

Come again soon – the rhubarb is dying for some preserving action too!

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

13 thoughts on “Radish Relish

  1. It sounds like beet relish. I sort of wonder how it would compare. I have not tried carrot relish because I hate carrot so much. I don’t know, but it seems to me that there is more variety of flavor among the different types of radish. They are mild, but some have more of a bite to them.

    1. That opens up a world of possibilities. I’ve heard of beetroot relish, but not carrot – but then why not. I wonder what else would work with the relish treatment. I am now looking at my garden in a whole new light! : o)

      1. I do not think that there are many rules in regard to relish. My favorite is still the simple cucumber relishes. I have made others just because there were surplus vegetables, or just to see what they were like. There are some that I would not make again.

  2. Sarah, my son who is a famous chef, well not yet, suggested you roast your radishes in better and salt and pepper, he says they are delish.
    Enjoy your blog

  3. I do like to plant radish seed with the slow-germinating carrots and avoid lots of thinning, so I’ll be putting your recipe to use! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Please tell me more about your magic grating tool! I too hate grating! I can’t remember if I have seen it on your blog before?

    1. Oh it is the best thing – simple to use, easy to clean and doesn’t take up much space. And it isn’t a phaff to get it out of the cupboard and set up. Its a Tefal Fresh Express-Electric Chopper Slicer Shredder Grater. I love it! : o)

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