In my quest for "nose to tail" eating of vegetables, I was hoping one of my interns could find a way to utilize the radish greens I typically discard. Rissa Landman (pronouced like Lisa but with an "R" and not to be confused with rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan) is currently at Hunter College studying nutrition education, is also interning at Slow Food USA and is the mother to two gangsta French Bulldogs Spanky and Gus. Here she writes about radish greens, which by the way, contain more vitamin C and calcium than the roots that we usually eat.
We stood around looking at each other and shrugging our shoulders. Are radish greens edible? Are they good? Pam had just thinned a bed of watermelon radishes and while the radishes themselves were still babies, they were topped off with large and beautiful green leaves. It would have been a shame to just discard them.
I did a little investigating and found out that they are indeed edible and quite versatile. I came across suggestions ranging from simply sautéed with garlic and olive oil to one using radish greens in a potato soup. The next night, we were making mussels with green coconut curry so I opted for a quick Vietnamese style pickling of both the greens and their baby radish companions.
They made a great side! The greens have a peppery taste – think very intense arugula – and a soft texture similar to spinach. They took well to the pickling – sweet, tart, and peppery - and the baby radishes added a nice crunchy texture. I have learned my lesson: the next time I find myself with a bunch of beautiful radishes, I won’t forget to utilize the greens. I would be a crime not to.
RECIPE: PICKLED RADISH GREENS
1 small bunch of radishes and their greens
1/4 cup rice vinegar 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt
Put vinegar, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced radishes and chopped radish greens and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to several hours before serving.
Here are some other ideas from Chowhound for radish greens.