Radishes are often called the “instant gratification” crops of the garden, because they are easy to grow and go from seed to harvest in practically no time at all. Dill is super hardy and rules the container garden; while chives will grow in just about any type of soil with varying degrees of sunlight. These three garden edibles are surprisingly versatile, and any way you prep ‘em, they are sure to please your impromptu cocktail hour guests.
How to serve radishes
Nothing says spring like the crisp, peppery bite of a radish. When you garnish your Bloody Mary at brunch, have you ever thought of using pickled radishes instead of celery? How about piling pickled radishes on top of a juicy grilled burger? It gives the same crunch of lettuce with a lot more flavor.
Easy Sweet and Sour Pickled Radishes
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 bunches radishes, rinsed and drained
Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a large jar. Close the jar with its lid and shake it up until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Quarter the radishes. (Smaller radishes can be halved and larger ones may need to be cut into sixths. You’ll want them to be roughly the same size.) Pack the radishes into your jar, cover with the brine and then the lid, and place in the refrigerator. They can be eaten immediately, but will taste best after sitting for 3 days. They’ll keep for up to a month in the fridge.
How to grow radishes
Fast growing radishes are best sown in the cool periods of spring and late summer/early fall.
- Days to harvest- 30 days from seed to harvest.
- When to sow radishes outdoors- In spring, sow radishes at 10-day intervals starting two weeks before your average last spring frost, continuing to three weeks after your last frost date. Sow seeds half an inch deep and 1 inch apart.
- Harvesting- If you pick radishes in warm weather, cool them off by immediately dropping them in a bucket of cold water. Trim off the green before storing them in the fridge.
Radish varieties to try
- Easter Egg Blend- This variety comes in an array of beautiful bright colors. It’s a pretty and crispy addition to any salad or relish tray, and is great for pickling.
- French Breakfast- The classic French way to serve these radishes is on a platter with sea salt. Try it- their mild flavor is irresistible! If you like in a warm climate, this heat tolerant variety is a great choice.
How to serve dillThe flavor of fresh dill is a great pairing with just about anything: sprinkled on popcorn, spread with butter on baked fish or grilled corn on the cob, chopped and stirred in with eggs and omelets, or of course added to homemade dill cucumber pickles. But how about infusing dill in vodka? Try it for an amazing new twist on the classic martini.
Simple Dill Infused Vodka
1 bunch of fresh dill, washed and trimmed
1.75 liters of good quality vodka
Place the dill in a bottle with an large mouth or a jar. Pour in the vodka so that it covers an inch or two above the dill. Place this in a dark place, such as a closet or pantry. Shake the mixture every day for 10 days. (Or leave it longer if you want a stronger flavor.) After 10 days, the vodka will have taken on a pretty chartreuse tinge. Strain the vodka through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the solids. Serve it chilled in a martini glass, along with a fresh dill sprig and a slice of cucumber as garnish.
How to grow dill
Dill will grow best in a sunny spot. It’s a great choice for container, and can grow quite tall, so make sure it doesn’t block the sun from your other plants.
- Days to harvest- 70 days from seed to harvest.
- When to sow dill outdoors- Sow dill outdoors in the spring, about 4 weeks before your last spring frost.
- Harvesting- You can harvest the leaves of dill any time before the plants flower. To dry the leaves, place them on a wire rack in a cool and shady place.
How to serve chives
Chives are most famous for their oniony flavored green foliage. Potato chip dip just wouldn’t be the same without them! But did you know that chive blossoms are also edible? The lovely lilac colored blossoms make an unexpected addition to pasta salad or deviled eggs. The trick is just to pull the blossoms apart so you don’t have a big fluffy flower in your mouth all at once. If you’d prefer to leave the pretty purple blossom in tact, use it as a garnish on any savory cocktail, such as an Old Fashioned, a martini, or a Bloody Mary. Or, pep up your salads with this chive blossom vinegar from Calendula and Concrete.
Chive Blossom Vinegar
1 large bunch of fresh chive blossoms
1 quart of white vinegar
Place the chive blossoms in a bottle with an large mouth or a jar. Pour in the vinegar so that it covers an inch or two above the blossoms. Place this in a dark place, such as a closet or pantry. Shake the mixture every day for 14 days. (Or leave it longer if you want a stronger flavor.) After 14 days, the vinegar will have a beautiful bright pink color. Strain the vinegar through a piece of cheesecloth to remove the solids. The vinegar will have a mild oniony flavor, which is excellent for homemade salad dressings.
How to grow chives
- Days to harvest- 6o days from seed to harvest.
- When to sow chives outdoors- Plant chives outdoors in the early spring or in the late summer/early fall.
- Harvesting- Use a sharp pair of scissors to cleanly cut your chives. Leave about 2-3 inches of the chive leaf at the base. You can harvest chives in big handfuls, all season long!
How to combine all three edibles: radishes, dill & chives
Whip up a quick batch of this butter from Pink of Perfection with fresh herbs from your herb garden. The creaminess of the butter, freshness of the herbs, and spiciness of the radishes are an irresistible combination.
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup or 2 ounces soft goat cheese
In a small bowl, mash together the dill, chives, shallots, butter, and salt. Mix until the herbs are evenly distributed throughout the butter. Crumble the cheese on top of the butter and stir a few times, just long enough to work the cheese into the butter, but keep the cheese a bit chunky. The dill butter will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week, but bring it back to room temperature before serving. Serve with cold radishes and a pile of salt.