We are constantly amazed and delighted by the textures and flavors found in wild foods. During a recent foraging class, we made one of our favorite foraging discoveries yet: wild radish seed pods! Wild radish grows throughout much of the US and summer is the season to gather these crunchy, peppery delicacies.
At our class with Pascal of Urban Outdoor Skills, we learned that the entire wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) plant is edible, from the veined purple, white, or yellow flowers to the leaves and roots. But the best parts, in our opinion, are the seed pods, which grow like little green spires marching up the stems.
Wild radish pods are crisp and peppery, much like the root of a true radish, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Young, tender pods are the most delicious and can be easily harvested by running your hand up the stalk to release a handful of pods. As the seed pods mature, they become segmented and tough until eventually they're hard and bristly. The best way to learn is to sample different pods to discover your personal preference and the particular bite and texture of a specific plant's pods.
So far this summer we have eaten the pods raw in a salad with the flowers and quickly pickled in vinegar. Pascal, our foraging guide, marinates them in Thai fish sauce and chile powder. Our next plan is to make a sort of kimchi with the radish pods, garlic, and gochugaru. Or perhaps we'll try wild radish toast!
Have you ever foraged wild radish pods (or other parts of the plant)? We'd love to hear how you prepared them.
• Urban Outdoor Skills
• Raphanus raphanistrum L. (USDA Plants Profile)
• Episode 111: Wild Radish (Eat The Weeds)
• Wild Radish Seed Pods with Little Gems (ForageSF)
Related: Summer Foraging: Fennel Pollen
(Images: Emily Ho)