Thursday, May 15, 2014

Really??!!! Rat-tail Radish?

I can be such a copycat, gardeners envy often gets the best of me and I want to show-off!  One day I was enjoying a television show I discovered on netflix called "People, Places and Plants".  It was a show about a gentleman with suspenders visiting different farms and introducing us to heirlooms that we don't encounter in everyday life.

On one episode, Roger Swain the host of the show showed off a lovely crop of Rat-Tail Radish.  He explained that the plant grows pods at the top that have the taste of the typical bulb radish.   He stated that the vegetable was so delicious, and he pulled off a pod and ate it.  He chewed with such satisfaction, that I insisted that I had to have a Rat-tail radish pronto.   I was not only amazed by his enjoyment of the veggie but I was also amazed by the concept.

Well naturally I got my fancy fingers moving on my keyboard until I could google the best place to find this odd vegetable.  When I finally discovered it I ordered it and patiently waited for its arrival.  I planted my potential meal the day it arrived and waited with great anticipation.  In about 1 1/2 months my plant was filled with white and pinkish flower.  I thought that was really sweet but it just reminded me of the simple flowers that you see with arugula, pak choy and most greens.  However, around the 2nd month those flowers turned to pods.  The pods were very much like the seed pods you see with most vegetables in the Brassicaceae family.  I did not find them to be particularly impressive at that time.  Finally, in the 3rd month I finally got my Rat Tail Radish pods, they covered my plant so much that it began to tip over since the harvest was so full.  With shear delight in my heart I finally had my moment to taste the vegetable the way that Roger Swain did, with anticipation and optimism.  I grabbed the freshest looking pod and chomp right in.

The taste .....oh the taste of it... Well .... the taste did absolutely nothing for me.   A matter a fact my feelings were a little hurt.. No way Roger Swain , why were you eating it like it was a strawberry.  It burned my mouth like the cross between a very strong ginger, and a very pungent arugula.  Well to be honest that was the first time I had ever tasted a radish, so it did throw me off a bit.  However, I did eat "real radish" shortly after that and they do have similar taste.  The "real radish" was not as spicy but it definitely was swinging from the same family tree.

My harvest from the Rat-Tail Radish was so large that I sold several packs of seeds on the Internet.  One of my customers was totally in love with it.  She told me about how many of her friends love it, and she shares it.   Since, I have way too much pride not to eat anything I grow I am going to try to serve it in another way this year.  I might try it roasted, pickled or fried I will keep you guys posted on how that goes. But, in the meantime, if you are interested in growing your own Rat-tail-Radish please feel free to check out my etsy shop at

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