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Rat's Tail Radish Empty Rat's Tail Radish

Post  Megan on 2/25/2011, 4:50 pm

I'm going to plant some this spring. It's a radish plant but there is no edible root underground. Instead, it grows seed pods which can be used in salads, stir-fried or pickled.

The back of the seed pack doesn't have a huge amount of detail. I've found some great information via Google, but would love to hear from anyone who has personal experience with this plant.
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Post  middlemamma on 2/25/2011, 5:28 pm

Megan, I put your yummy sounding pickles over in the recipe section. Smile

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t5363-refrigerator-pickle-recipe#45231
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Post  Megan on 2/25/2011, 5:35 pm

Thanks Jen. I renamed it to help differentiate it from other fridge pickles. (I made some garlic cuke fridge pickles last year that had me crying and gasping for breath....wow!)

I'm not sure whether it belongs in side dishes, or in canning/preserving. :?:
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Post  middlemamma on 2/25/2011, 5:39 pm

I wasn't sure either about canning vs side dishes. I opted for side dish cause it's ready in 30 minutes??

Let me know if you would rather it be in canning I can move it....Smile

Those garlic pickles sound like something hubby and I would love! Feel free to post that recipe if it isn't already!

Jen
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Post  Megan on 2/25/2011, 5:51 pm

I didn't follow a recipe I'm afraid.

Best I can remember, it was something like this:

Dump the sliced cukes in a non-reactive (glass) bowl (bowl about 1.5 qt), add dash of salt, couple dashes sugar, 6-8 cloves of fresh crushed garlic, 2 ts cracked red pepper, 1/2 ts black pepper, some sliced onion, a drizzle (maybe 2 ts) evoo, and stir up until mixed. Then cover all that with white vinegar. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight, agitating once or twice.

And I take absolutely NO responsibility whatsoever for what happens if you try eating that!!!! affraid Hot! Hot!
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Post  miinva on 2/25/2011, 8:33 pm

I haven't grown them, but Alys Fowler mentions them on the show The Edible Garden, which I've watched over and over Very Happy She doesn't say the variety, but she gathers radish pods to serve at a party, so I'm sure they're similar.
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Post  Megan on 2/25/2011, 10:39 pm

From what I've been able to tell from reading, there are at least 3 types of rat's tail by flower color alone, and at least one is a German "bier" variety. Also from what I've read, regular radishes will form edible seed pods, but the pods are not as big. I did let one radish go to seed last year but I didn't let it stick around long enough to form seed pods. Pretty flowers, though.
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Post  WardinWake on 2/28/2011, 5:21 pm

@Megan wrote:I'm going to plant some this spring. It's a radish plant but there is no edible root underground. Instead, it grows seed pods which can be used in salads, stir-fried or pickled.

The back of the seed pack doesn't have a huge amount of detail. I've found some great information via Google, but would love to hear from anyone who has personal experience with this plant.

Megan: Jack Staub wrote the book "Alluring Lettuces" which lists 75 wonderful things to plant in the garden. One chapter is on the Chinese Rat Tail Radish. The chapter starts with...

"Radishes...are eaten alone with Salt only, as carrying their Peper in them, and were indeed by Dioscorides and Pliny celebrated above all roots whatsoever; insomuch as in the Delphic Temple...there was Raphanus ex auro discatus, a Radish of solid Gold; and 'tis said of Moschius that he wrote a whole volume in their praise." John Evelyn, Acetaria: A Discourse of Shallets, 1699.

BTW: where did you find your seeds?

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  Megan on 2/28/2011, 5:31 pm

Thank you, Ward! I had heard about that Delphic reference when I was writing my radish article but I didn't see that particular source. I'll have to look for Acetaria on Gutenburg. Some other sources say that it was made of silver only.

I found the seeds on Baker Creek. Several places sell them, though.

Edit: Bingo, Acetaria's on Gutenburg! cheers
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Post  ander217 on 3/1/2011, 8:14 am

@Megan wrote:I had heard about that Delphic reference when I was writing my radish article but I didn't see that particular source.

What radish article?

I allowed a radish to go to seed last year, too, and it formed lots of seed pods. Wish I'd known then they were edible.
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Post  Megan on 3/1/2011, 5:40 pm

@ander217 wrote:What radish article?

The one I didn't get time to finish for the contest. Embarassed I learned a lot, though.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 3/1/2011, 7:15 pm

The info I found on the Rat Tail Radish is that it grows 3 - 5 feet tall! And it can produce pods for several weeks.
Sounds pretty interesting. I have not seen the seeds at any of my regular haunts, and don't think I will make another order for more seeds. Evil or Very Mad One day I will try them.
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Post  Megan on 3/1/2011, 7:35 pm

Yep, that is right; the White Hailstone radish I let go to seed last year was probably over 4 feet by the time I pulled it, so I believe the height.

Here is the information I've gathered on Rat's Tail radish. I have no personal experience with the variety. With radishes in general, I agree with the height and spacing for a bolting radish, flower and leaf edibility, dislike of transplanting, and the rassa-frassa flea beetles. Smile

* sow in situ 1/4" to 1/2" deep (does not like being transplanted)
* 1 per square foot (if you initially plant closer, thinnings can be eaten)
* flavor will get very hot if soil allowed to dry out, so keep dampish
* may benefit from fish emulsion or kelp at 30-40 days
* 40-50 days to maturity
* plants grow 3' to 5' tall (what I saw was 3-4' and 4-5', in different places); plants may need staking
* harvest pods when pencil-thick and about 4" long, as when they get big they are tough; use scissors or pull pods off gently
* yield: 3-4 dozen pods per plant; flowers and young leaves also edible
* attracts pollinators
* suffers pests typical to radishes, such as flea beetles
* flower color varies depending on pod color (some pods green, some get streaked with purple); pods grow upright from the bottom

They are also supposed to be quite ornamental. I sure hope that is right, because I am going to plant some in my front yard! Guess we will find out. Very Happy
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Post  miinva on 3/1/2011, 8:00 pm

Megan, I hope you're going to post your radish article, even if it's too late for the contest.
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Post  Megan on 3/1/2011, 8:02 pm

@miinva wrote:Megan, I hope you're going to post your radish article, even if it's too late for the contest.

I will. It's just not done yet.... it turns out the lowly radish is a very interesting topic. I'm not done researching it! But, thank you.
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