Please don’t throw out your radish greens! High in minerals and vitamins (those peppery radishes have to get their nutrition to grow underground from somewhere), pickling them is a quick and tangy way to incorporate more greens into your diet!

pickled radish greens on avocado toast.

Oftentimes, when I buy carrots or radishes with the greens attached, I wonder why they sell them this way. I’ve learned that the vegetable will pull moisture from the greens, so maybe it helps the root vegetable remain fresher at the market, but I’ve also heard it’s just for looks. I was finally driven by curiosity and found out that in fact, radish greens are edible. On that note, I decided to taste radish greens and was surprised that they tasted as good as most other greens I eat, so I looked into the situation. When I didn’t know what to do with them, I wondered if they (or any other green for that matter) could be quick pickled (a.k.a. refrigerator pickles) to have on hand as a tasty and nutritious topping and indeed they can! They don’t disintegrate! Pickled radish greens to the rescue!

chopped and pickled radish greens with fennel and dill seeds, shown in jar from above.

What are quick pickles?

Unlike traditional pickles, which are heated to a high temperature and sealed in a way that allows the pickles to sit on a shelf through the winter (like other canned goods), quick pickles are simply a marinated pickle (where the pickled food can be any number of vegetables) that lasts in the refrigerator for about a month. Hence, the other name for quick pickles is refrigerator pickles!

close up of radish greens on a tray.

Why make these pickled radish greens?

If you’ve bought radishes with greens attached, you may have a use for the radishes, such as to make my Roasted Radishes with Avocado Jalapeno Crema, but not have plans to eat the greens right away, and you can easily take a few minutes to pour some pickling liquid over them and store them in the refrigerator for another day. They can be eaten on top of or as a side/condiment for any meal. Frankly, there’s really no reason to NOT make them, unless, of course, you are not a fan of pickles or vinegary-tasting foods. But, to that, I say, you can make the pickles sweeter or not, to suit your tastebuds, so there’s still no reason not to make them! They are quick and tailorable! By including fennel and dill seeds in these pickles, I’ve given them lots of flavor, but you can leave either out if you are not a fan.

How to make these pickled radish greens

  • As mentioned above, you want to separate the greens from the radishes as soon as you get them home.
  • After cleaning the radish greens well and drying them, you simply cover them with the warm pickling liquid, allow them to cool then cover and refrigerate.
  • They are ready to use as soon as they cool, but the flavor develops as they stay in the refrigerator, so it’s ideal to wait overnight.

How to serve pickled radish greens

Like any pickle, sauerkraut, or kimchi, the sharp, tangy, and sweet flavors make quick pickled radish greens a great accompaniment to almost any meal. Serve on top or to the side. In my experience, many cultures serve a fermented pickle at every meal for good health or include pickled vegetables to balance the different flavors. Here you can see I’ve served it on top of some curry and on top of my avocado and egg breakfast toast.

FAQs

Pickling and canning take a lot of time and are risky to keep the food safe. What about this recipe?

This is not a traditional pickle recipe that involves canning principles and all the time involved in that. Rather, these are called “quick” or “refrigerator” pickles and take minutes to make. There is no risk in making these pickles.

I don’t have canning equipment, so how do I make these?

These pickles require no special equipment, just a jar with a cover.

Pickles are too tart for me. Can I make them sweeter?

Yes, you can adjust the amount of sugar for a sweeter pickle if you like.

How long do these pickles last?

They last at least a month in the refrigerator. After one month, they will still taste good but the vegetables will start to break down some and the texture may not be as good for eating, so I recommend eating them within a month.

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pickled radish greens on avocado toast.

Pickled Radish Greens with Fennel and Dill

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Pickling time: 1 day
Servings8
Calories34
Please don’t throw out your radish greens! High in minerals and vitamins (those peppery radishes have to get their nutrition to grow underground from somewhere), pickling them is a quick and tangy way to incorporate more greens into your diet!
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 pint jar with lid

Ingredients
 

  • 2 bunches of radish greens (see note)
  • 1 cup white vinegar (or apple cider or other type)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dill seeds

Method:  

  • Cut the greens from the radishes and clean thoroughly. As per my photos, I've pickled them chopped and I've pickled them left whole. Chopped are easier to eat, and whole leaves are fun for presentation.
  • Heat the water and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. No need to even bring to a boil if you can get the sugar to dissolve first. You want to avoid boiling away the quantity of liquid.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir to dissolve salt.
  • Place greens in jar, pour over liquid and leave uncovered to cool, then cover and place in refrigerator.
  • The quick pickled greens will be ready to eat the next day. They can even be used after cooled down, if you can't wait, because we are not waiting for fermentation or aging to occur, rather the pickling flavor is based on the ingredients used and the greens will be tasty from the get go.
  • These pickles last in the refrigerator for a month or so, before they start breaking down.

Notes

Radish Greens Note: this recipe is written for pickling two bunches of radish greens. There is enough liquid to pickle more if you want. I suggest starting with this amount and seeing how fast you use them up first. If you don’t think you will eat the radishes that you bought to get the greens, you can slice them and pickle in separate jar with some of the liquid or use the same jar.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 874mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 0.3mg | Magnesium: 10mg | Net Carbohydrates: 5g
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