Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Storing and Preserving Your Radishes

Pickled radishes in a jar

Pickled radishes in a jar

Radishes like to be in a cool, moist environment for storage.

Leaving any radish out on the counter for a few days will result in wilted greens and shriveled bulbs. Storing them in your refrigerator crisper isn’t great either, although they can last about a week in there.

Some gardeners have luck storing them in glass jars filled with cold water, where they can last up to two weeks.

Freezing is not an ideal way to preserve radishes, because they will lose their texture and flavor.

The best place for radishes is in a cool damp basement or root cellar. That’s where they can last for months. Spring radishes may only last a few weeks, but winter radishes are meant to be over-wintered and can last from late fall to late winter, about four months.

Fermenting Radishes

Fermenting is a simple and healthy method of preservation, and a great way to take advantage of the nutrients in radishes. All you need is water, salt, and the spices of your choice to get the fermentation going.

You can either peel your radishes and ferment them whole or cut them into matchsticks.

Next, make a brine. You’ll need 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 cups of water to make your brine solution. Boil your brine, which may include other spices like bay leaf, pepper, red pepper flakes, and mustard seeds, and then let it cool to room temperature.

Put your radish into your sterilized fermentation jar and pour in just enough brine to cover them. If you have a fermentation set, you probably have glass weights to help keep the radishes submerged in the brine, and one-way valve inserts to keep the jars from overflowing.

If you don’t have a fermentation kit, you can use a sterilized shot glass as a weight. The goal here is to keep the radishes submerged in the brine. “Burp” the jar every day or two to release gases, if you’re not using a fermentation jar that burps itself.

Tighten the lid on your jar and keep it in a dark spot at room temperature for five to seven days. The fermentation process will get going, with healthy bacteria feeding off the sugar in the radishes and producing lactic and acetic acid, which will preserve your crop as well as provide healthy probiotics for your digestive system.

In a few days, the jar should start bubbling. Check it every few days; when it tastes salty and a little sour, it’s ready. Take out the weight and get a good solid lid. Store your fermented radishes in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge.

Pickling Radishes

Quick pickling is a tried, true, and very popular method for preserving and enjoying your radishes. Pickled radishes can keep up to six months with this method.

  • Fill two sterilized mason jars with peeled and sliced radishes. You can cut them thin with a mandolin for round slivers. Add sliced garlic cloves and any other pickling spices you prefer.
  • Combine 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 3 cups water, 1/3 cup salt, and a tablespoon of sugar in a pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Pour it over your radishes, leaving about a 1/2 inch of head space at the top.
  • Cover the jars with tight-fitting sterilized lids and let them cool.
  • Refrigerate, undisturbed, for at least a day.
  • Eat within a month.

Canning Radishes

Canning is a time-honored preservation method—and one you should only pursue if you have the right equipment. You must be careful to follow all canning directions to the letter to avoid botulism in your canned goods. We have a post in Food Gardening Daily that provides 10 rules to live by for pressure canning safety.

Dehydrating Radishes

Dried radish in a bowl

Dried radish in a bowl

Since radishes spoil so easily, but are so easy to grow, you might find yourself with an over-abundance of radishes. Dehydrating it is a great way to preserve them for the long term. Dried radishes can be rehydrated for use in soups and stews.

To dehydrate your radishes, you will need a dehydrator because even smart ovens rarely reach the lower temperature needed for radishes. Higher “dehydrate” settings on ovens will cook the radishes too much.

To begin, clean your radishes with a vegetable brush, and remove the leaves (and save them for salads and recipes!).

Use a mandolin to slice the radishes into 1/4-inch rounds.

Place the rounds on your dehydrator trays, evenly spaced and not touching. Dehydrate at 125 degrees F for four to eight hours or until done.

Store in an airtight container and they can last up to a week.

How do you preserve your radishes? Do you have another way you think works best? Share your tips with us.

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