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Know Your Radishes: Useful Varieties and How to Use Them

Thu Apr 14

Crisp, colorful, radishes are one of the first veggies to pop up each spring.

This underrated root vegetable is actually a powerhouse of nutrition and can be served in a number of tasty ways. They are surprisingly versatile, and while they are delightful raw, they can also be excellent when cooked.

Consider this your go-to guide for radish varieties; how to buy them, store them, and use them.

Nutrition

Radishes are members of the Brassica family and are close relatives of turnips, cabbage, and cauliflower. All varieties are super low in calories and carbs, and they contribute to your daily fiber intake. They are a good source of potassium and folate, as well as vitamin C which helps to prevent cell damage caused by aging, an unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C also plays a key role in collagen production, which supports healthy skin and blood vessels.

How to buy

Radishes are easy to find in most supermarkets, where you will likely find the most common varieties. Head over to your local farmer’s markets or specialty produce stores to find other radish varieties. Radishes are one of the first veggies to pop up in spring, and farmers will often load up their tables with colorful varieties.

When selecting, look for firm radishes without cracks or soft spots. If you squeeze them and they have any give, they’re past their prime. If greens are attached, they should be fresh and green, not wilted.

Also, keep in mind, that radishes become overly pungent if they are left in the ground too long or not eaten right away. Smaller radishes tend to have the best flavor and texture.

Storage

When storing radishes, place loose ones in a clean, dry plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to one week. Leave the greens attached if you plan on eating them in a day or two. Otherwise, if you need to store them for a while, the roots will keep better if you remove the greens.

For longer shelf life, why not pickle your radishes? Pickled radishes can last up to six months in a refrigerated canning jar. When pickling radishes, you can use a formula that combines a half-pound of radishes with a half-cup of sugar, a half-cup of white vinegar, a quarter-cup of water, and a teaspoon of salt.

Varieties 
Radishes grow all over the world and come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. All radishes offer a crisp and crunchy bite, and range in flavor from mild and slightly peppery to full-on spicy.
Here are some of the most common varieties:

Red radish: Round or oval with bright red skin and white flesh. They are available year-round and have a crisp, peppery flavor.

Black radish: a.k.a. Spanish radishes have a black exterior with white flesh and a quite peppery flavor.

Watermelon Radish: while this radish doesn’t look like much from the outside, cut them open to reveal a vibrant reddish-pink interior. Available in spring and fall and have a slightly sweeter flavor but still have a little bit

Easter egg radishes: not an actual variety, but rather a mix of varieties with different skin colors sold together typically including white, pink, red, and purple radishes.

Daikon radishes: also known as white radish, Japanese radish, and Chinese radish,  is popular in  Asian cuisines. They are white and long in shape, like a plump carrot, and are commonly eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Raw daikon radish has a sweet and lightly spicy flavor, and it tends to be milder than a peppery red radish.

French breakfast radishes: These are slightly elongated versions of the common red round radish with a white tip. It has a mild peppery flavor and crisp texture. t is often eaten raw but the radish can be cooked as well.

How to use radishes

Radishes are most frequently eaten raw in salads and other dishes, but don’t overlook how amazing they can be when roasted! They come out super crunchy and juicy. They can also be used in stews, soups, and stir-fries or as a fresh addition to colorful Buddha bowls. Or simply top your favorite toast with slices of radish, like this watermelon radish toast recipe.