Produce of the Month Guide: Radishes
Produce of the Month Guide: Radishes is a produce guide including how to grow, health benefits, and 25 of the best radish recipes!
Spring has sprung, rainy or not, and I couldn’t be happier. Did winter feel like it was 6 months long or what???
When spring comes, I’m attracted to all the green foods. Asparagus, peas, fava beans and leafy greens are favorites of mine, but I can never forget about those spicy radishes!
I wanted to publish this radish produce guide weeks ago, but I was holding off until I could find more of a variety for my photographs. I had no luck, so I just picked up the prettiest bunches of red radishes that I could find and rolled with it.
They ended up being quite photogenic in the end. 🙂
Produce of the Month Guide: Radishes
Radishes are globe-shaped, pungent tasting edible root vegetables in the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, mustard greens, cauliflower and turnips. They’re also related to wasabi and horseradish. Radishes come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, and are mostly consumed raw.
While there isn’t a lot of archeological records available on radishes to help determine their early history, Southeast Asia is thought to be their origin as many wild varieties have been discovered there.
Radishes became domesticated in Europe in the 1500’s, and hit the United States in the early 1600’s.
What are the types of radishes?
There are basically 4 different varieties of radishes, which are categorized based on the season that they’re grown in.
The most common varieties of radishes are the Cherry Belle (pictured in this post), Sparkler (bright red with white tip), White Beauty (white in color), French Breakfast (small oblong, red with a white bottom), White Icicle (5-8″ in length), Daikon (huge white radishes almost as large as parsnip), and Fire and Ice (half red and half white).
Unique varieties of radishes include Easter egg radishes and my personal favorite — watermelon radishes.
What does a radish taste like?
Radishes are crisp and crunchy with a pungent, peppery flavor. There are varying degrees of “spiciness” based on when they’re grown, as well as actual size of the radish. Larger radishes are typically spicier, and radishes grown in hotter temperatures are normally spicier as well.
The interesting part about the taste of radishes is that they’re not peppery until you bite into them. The peppery flavor is caused by glucosinolates and an enzyme called mirosinase, which are combined during the chewing process. Chewing forms allyl isothiocyanates, which is also present in horseradish and wasabi.
Hey, I learned something new here!
Radish greens are also edible, so don’t throw those out! They’re very tender with a mild bitter flavor. There are a number of ways to utilize radish greens in recipes, including soups, salads, pastas, pesto sauce, smoothies and sautés!
What are the health benefits of radishes?
There are a number of reasons why radishes are a great addition to your diet. For starters, they’re rich in Vitamin C, potassium, calcium and sodium. They also contain Vitamins A, K and B6, as well as thiamin, niacin, folate, phosphate, iron magnesium and zinc.
Radishes are very low in calories, carbohydrates and contain zero fat. They’re also 95% water, so they make you feel full faster and keep you hydrated!
They also aid digestion, urinary disorders, have a low glycemic index, and can help lower blood pressure, protect kidneys, and boost immunity. For more information, read here.
Note — the radish greens are the most nutritious part of the plant!
How to grow radishes
One of the first things that I planted in my garden when I started it was radishes. I was told that they have a high success rate and a quick return, and it was true. Normally when I plant from seed I don’t always see great results, but radishes always come through.
I’ve grown many varieties, including watermelon, Easter egg, french breakfast radish and cherry belle, and have never had bad luck.
I have (2) raised beds filled with soil, and I typically start planting my radish seeds in October. I stagger the planting to extend the growing season, for example — the first week in October I’ll plant some seeds, then 1-2 weeks later I’ll plant more, etc.
Grow radishes in full sun and plant seeds 1″ deep for small radishes or 1.5″ deep for larger varieties. Many radish varieties mature in only 3-4 weeks, and the longest up to 6-7 weeks.
Radishes make great companion plants as they’re pungent odor deters insects such as aphids, ants, cucumber beetles, etc. They’re also great for luring pests away from the main crop.
Radishes are used as a cover crop, especially in organic farming for their deep rooting, which helps prepare the ground for planting every spring. The plants also help suppress weeds, and takes up nitrogen from the ground, which benefits water quality.
Choosing and storing radishes
Choose bright, unblemished radishes with healthy looking greens. Once you get them home, cut the greens off just above the top of the radish so prevent the radish from becoming soft.
Wash the greens thoroughly before use in radish green recipes, or chop and place in a zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Radishes should be stored in the crisper and used within 5 days.
How to prepare radishes
There are so many ways to prepare radishes! If you eat them raw, try them in salads, slaws, sandwiches or as a topping for tacos and soups.
Have you ever tried a pickled radish recipe? I just recently tried it and I’m hooked! I don’t know if I’ll ever eat a regular pickle over them again. 🙂
Radishes are also wonderful cooked. Try them sautéed or roasted!
There are so many delicious recipes using radishes, and I hope you find some that inspire you below!
25 Best Radish Recipes
Apple Radish Slaw with Honey Lime Vinaigrette by The Lemon Bowl
Avocado Toast with Pickled Onions, Radish and Cotija Cheese by The Lemon Bowl
Cabbage, Radish and Apple Cole Slaw by Blackberry Babe
Fennel and Radish Citrus Salad by The Tasting Page
Green Goddess Salad Recipe by Billy Parisi
Lentil, Avocado and Radish Salad by Letty’s Kitchen
Mexican Meatballs (Albondigas) by Platings and Pairings
Quick Fridge Pickled Vegetables by Peas and Crayons
Radish, Avocado and Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich by Recipes from a Pantry
Radish Rose Tea Sandwiches with Lemon Butter by Oh, How Civilized
Roast Beef Sandwich with Horseradish Cream by Billy Parisi
Roasted Radishes Recipe by Finding Zest
Roasted Radishes Recipe with Soy Sauce by Kalyn’s Kitchen
Sautéed Radishes with Vinegar by Kalyn’s Kitchen
Shaved Apple and Radish Salad by The View from Great Island
Shrimp Tacos by Pinch and Swirl
Sticky 5-Spice Chicken with Carrot Radish Slaw by Sidewalk Shoes
Spiralized Radish and Lime Salad by Fearless Dining
Spring Pea and Radish Risotto by Running to the Kitchen
Steak Tacos with Radish-Cilantro Salsa by My Kitchen Love
Sweet Pickled Radish Recipe by Flour on My Face
Whole30 Carrot Slaw by Peas and Crayons