Did you ever raid your grandma’s garden for this colourful, snack-sized treat? The garden variety, also known as ‘Red Globe,’ produces tiny scarlet rounds or ovals are firm with juicy white flesh that provides a mild peppery taste, and definite crunch. Related to the turnip and horseradish family, this root vegetable is the most popular and you’ll find it at Ralph’s.
Although radishes are one of the earliest spring crops, they are generally available throughout the year but more abundant in the cool spring and autumn months. Please note, however, radishes grown and harvested when temperatures remain hot, develop an increased bitterness.
When selecting, look for fresh bunches of uniformly sized radishes, preferably with their crisp green tops still attached so you can survey they freshness and colour. Firm, crisp, and smooth skinned radishes without blemishes. Softer ‘balls’ indicate a pithy interior and should be avoided.
Radishes will not keep as well with their leafy tops left on, so remove the tops before storing. Place unwashed radish roots in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to a week, up to two weeks when wrapped. For the best flavour, however, serve fresh radishes as soon as possible.
Before eating, simply trim stem and root ends, wash under cold running water, being careful to remove any sand, then drain. Scrape away any blemishes, however, radishes are not usually peeled during preparation, since the flavour will lessen, becoming more mild. Depending on what a recipe calls for, serve whole, sliced, diced, minced, or grated.
Flavour too strong? If the pungency of the radish is too strong for your taste, tone it down by salting and washing the radish to draw out the peppery flavour, by steaming the radish for 5 to 10 minutes, or by baking the radish with other vegetables.
Too limp? If you’re faced with a limp bunch of radishes, soak them in a bowl of ice water for at least an hour to increase the crispness prior to serving.
You’ll never go wrong by keeping things simple, their pungent flavour clears the palate so nicely. The lovely contrasting colour added to its mild, peppery hot flavour is often enjoyed as hors d’oeuvres, as complements to salad, served with cheese in a sandwich, or as a garnish,.
Raw Serving Suggestions
- Serve with olive oil or sea salt
- For breakfast with salt, bread and butter, the way the French eat them
Quick & Easy Serving Ideas
- Add to soups, roast, sauté as a side, or add to a stir-fry. They are quite delicious with less of a bite. The process of cooking radishes tames the harshness.
- To enhance the red colouring of a radish while cooking, add a bit of lemon juice to the cooking liquid.
- Boil Drop whole or sliced radishes into boiling water. Simmer radishes until they become just tender, from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the type of radish.
- Steam Place whole radishes in steamer for 5 to 15 minutes. A lengthier steaming process makes them more tender
- Roast Preheat oven to 425º F. Toss sliced radishes with olive oil, and favourite seasonings. Loosely spread onto baking sheet or roasting pan. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until tender and browning.
They are an excellent source of Vitamin C and very low in calories. A great benefit of being part of the cabbage family is the honour of containing health-supportive phytochemical indoles.
Radishes, 1 cup (88g) (raw, sliced)
Total Fat: 0.63g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (26.4mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
- China is believed to be the country of origin, with wild forms have been found there. In prehistoric times, Middle Asia appears to be the second place of introduction.
- Even before the Pyramids were built, ancient Egyptian records show that radishes were a common Egyptian food.
- Highly valued by the ancient Greeks. In fact small replicas of radishes were made in gold; beets were shown in silver and turnips in lead. In the third century B.C., an ancient Greek physician wrote an entire book about the plant.
- Radishes were sited in Mexico in approximately 1500 A.D. and in Haiti by 1565, indicating that they were among the first European crops introduced into the Americas by Columbus and his immediate followers. They were among the first crops grown by the English colonists in North America, and have been popular here ever since.
- A root vegetable related to the turnip and horseradish family, with a similar crisp texture and a peppery hot flavour. The age and variety of a radish determines its place on the scale of mild to very strong.
- The red radishcombines the sharp bite of the turnip-shaped black radish (Daikon) to the delicate sweetness of the white icicles.