How to grow radishes and make grilled tuna with radish salsa
Andrea Bellamy |

Every month, Heavy Petal collaborates with Willowtree — a website for those with food sensitivities who want to find their culinary bliss — to bring you a celebration of an in-season edible. I’ll tell you how to grow it; they’ll tell you how to eat it. Yay!

With such a slow start to summer and a spring that seemed to redefine “cool and damp,” the Willowtree gals and I had radishes coming out of our ears. I have to admit that I didn’t really mind when my last sowing of radishes bolted in the recent warmth; I’d long since grown tired of radish salads and salted radishes and… well, what else can you do with a radish?

If you’re Jackie and Tina, you make salsa. Read on for the recipe and growing tips.

Grilled Tuna with Radish Salsa

Makes: 4 Tuna steaks with relish

Cook Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

4 tuna steaks

4 large radishes, diced

1 small scallion bulb, diced

5 small strawberries, diced

10 large, fresh mint leaves, diced

Juice of half a lime

Pinch of coarse salt

Fresh ground pepper

Method:

In a small bowl combine diced radishes, scallions, strawberries and mint. Add lime juice, toss and finish with pinch of salt.

Turn BBQ to high. Lightly sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Sear tuna on grill for about 3 minutes per side, or until desired temperature is reached. (We prefer to serve tuna lightly seared while still pink in the middle).

Plate tuna and serve hot with a spoon full of radish salsa on top.

Growing Radishes

Radishes are one of the easiest and quickest crops to grow, maturing in as little as 25 days. They’re also one of the first crops you can sow in spring or late winter. A cool-season crop, I plant them from March through April, then again in August through October.

They’ll grow in sun or part shade, and like rich, moist soil that’s rich in organic matter (stir in some composted manure prior to planting and you’ll be rewarded!).

The real secret to growing radishes—although it’s not much of a secret—is to grow them fast and harvest before they have a chance to get woody or bitter. Plant the seeds, keep the soil consistently moist (dry soil causes growth to slow and increases the likelihood of bolting, which is when the plant gives you flowers instead of the root you really wanted), and pick as soon as you see that red, pink, white, or purple root start to peek out of the soil. Planting a few seeds every week or two is a better strategy than sowing a ton all at once. Stagger your harvest, friends.

And if your radishes do go to seed (as they’re wont to do in the summer heat)? Eat the seedpods. Just harvest when young and tender, and lightly sauté.

Photos by Jackie Connelly. Copyright Willowtree.



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