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Garden to Plate: Radishes

“What a strange machine man is!
You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes,
and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

Tomorrow morning I begin a Writing Hibernation, tucked away in my office as I head into the home stretch of finishing the first draft of my history book. Last minute submissions and historical finds are flooding in and first thing tomorrow morning I will be found at my desk, sorting photos and family stories and reminiscences, getting everything organized so I can pull it together into a cohesive and (hopefully!) entertaining narrative. I’m excited. The end is in sight!

In preparation for days of reading and writing, I spent most of this weekend outside doing anything but sitting on my backside at my computer. It’s been brilliant.

Bear and I spent Saturday building an apple orchard in the pouring rain. By the end of the day we were sopping wet, covered in mud, aching all over, and tired beyond belief. But oh so happy. It’s nearly done!!! This week the trees go in and soon our ducks will have an apple orchard pen all to themselves and we will be one step closer to apple nirvana in Autumn.

It will be a surprise orchard, for all the trees were given to us at rock bottom prices by a local nursery that had lost all the tags to their remaining apple trees. We know we have one Granny Smith and something marvelous called Snow Apples, but other than that, we have no clue what sort of apples will arrive when Fall comes around. That pleases me no end.

I’ve also been snatching moments for my gardens whenever I can, having realized with a jolt that my writing marathon coincided with the arrival of Spring and all the necessary planting that entails. So in between other projects and chores I dig a bit, plant a few seeds, water a patch or two, and haul straw for mulching. This weekend I planted purple carrots, Lebanese cucumbers, purple garlic, 4 kinds of basil, twelve types of tomatoes, purple artichokes (I’m noticing a purple theme here), strawberry pinto beans, black beans, Jack beans, and nasturtiums. Phew!

I’ve also been picking radishes. And more radishes. Long, gorgeous scarlet ones and chubby white ones with lavender tops.

I have not always been a radish fan. Memories of biting into raw ones that set my tongue burning were enough to turn me against them for quite awhile.

Then I had them roasted. Oh. My.

I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Roasting banishes that biting heat and replaces it with seductive sweetness with just a hint of a kick.

Roasting them with thyme adds deeper pleasure by providing a salty crunch to the smooth, sweet, radish flavor.

Normally I roast the leaves with the radishes – they become delectably crispy and salty and are sheer bliss – but this time I saved them for a unique twist on pesto.

My blogging friend Jeanne inspired this plan, and after some experimentation, I arrived at a concoction both Bear and I love. I added more garlic and Parmesan than I do in a traditional basil pesto, since the earthiness of the radish leaves can handle strong flavors. It resulted in a peppery pesto that we will use as a base for savory tart filling, a zingy dressing for potato salad, and a spread for sandwiches.

Later this week I will use up the rest of the radishes in a pickle. Mmm. Can’t wait!

Do you like radishes? What is your favorite vegetable? xo

Roasted Radishes with Thyme


12 radishes, washed, topped, and halved lengthwise
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
sea salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (220 C).
  2. In medium bowl, toss together all ingredients until radishes are evenly coated.
  3. Spread radishes evenly onto baking sheet topped with baking paper.
  4. Roast 20-30 minutes until radishes are soft and begin to brown.
  5. Serve warm or cold.

Radish Green Pesto


1 cup olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup pine nuts
6 cups fresh radish greens, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped (stems removed)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In food processor blend together oil, garlic, salt, and pine nuts to form rough paste.
  2. Add radish greens and pulse until rough paste forms.
  3. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse just until mixed. (If you prefer a smoother paste, puree longer)
  4. Use immediately or freeze until ready to use.


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Jeanne Horak - Yaaaay – I am so glad you tried the radish pesto idea and that you & Bear liked it! This mornign I see a blogging friend made carrot top pesto, so now I am intrigued by that too 🙂 I have not tried roasting radishes but I do often slow braise them – oh my… you should try that!

Kyrstie Barcak - Your apple orchard sounds wonderful Krista. You are lucky to have the space to make one. I ate radishes as a child often as my nan grew them along the side of her house. I have never tried roasting them but you have made me really want to try them

Jamie - What gorgeous photos and what exciting times! I am so happy your writing is going along so well and your garden sounds like it will be heaven!! j

Joanne (eats well with others) - Good luck with all your writing! I don’t think I’ve actually ever cooked with radishes before, but I bet I’d love them roasted!

Hotly Spiced - So you’ve had a lot of rain as well! It’s been non-stop here and I believe we’re in for another deluge. I love how you now have your own orchard. The images of your radishes are gorgeous xx

Gourmet Getaways - Your radish looks fresh and juicy. I would love them roasted, too!

Gourmet Getaways

Rosa - Beautiful radishes and delicious food! I love radish greens and that pesto is fabulous….



Tandy Sinclair - This week our local store had bag fulls of mixed apples for sale, much like your orchard. I also saw radishes for the first time in a roasting mix. I must try that 🙂

Monet@anecdotesandapples.com - Beautiful radishes! You can’t beat garden fresh! We just roasted radishes a few weeks ago and we fell in love!

Lizzy (Good Things) - Your radishes look quite delicious, Krista… what is the history book about? Sounds good.

Jackie Smith - Remember to surface from your hibernation and touch base with us all even if ever so briefly. I’ve never tried a roasted radish but these look so good I will soon! Hugs! J.

Krista - I hope you’re able to get one soon, @atasteofmadness:disqus Even a little one in a pot on your doorstep. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much for the Latino version of radishes, Paradis. That sounds absolutely delicious. 🙂

Krista - Peas and carrots from the garden are my very favorite things too, Susan. 🙂

Krista - I think the roasted version might tempt you, @wanderingsheila:disqus 🙂 Bear and I were eating them like candy last night. 🙂

ATasteOfMadness - I love radishes! I wish I had a vegetable garden 🙁

mlleparadis - oh yum! will definitely be trying your recipes and suggestions. here the latinos also eat their raw radishes with lime juice (on tacos) it’s a nice way to neutralize the bite.

your gardening and writing activities sound epic-but-dreamy. have a great time – so much to look forward to!


Cathy - I’m not a radish fan Krista, but perhaps if I roast them I may become one 🙂 Good luck with your writing focus 🙂

the fisherlady - Radishes are awesome but my favourite remain to be the little juicy round ones eaten with a pop in the mouth or sliced thin and enjoyed with any salad, potato or lettuce,,,, and peas from the garden and carrots eaten fresh are my favourite treats along with a snip of fresh mint as I fill on raspberries.

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