Radish


A lively salad addition, red radishes have a distinctive spicy pepper taste.
Radishes are the roots of a plant related to the mustard plant. The common radish has a bright red skin and contrasting bright white flesh, and its surprisingly spicy pepper flavor keeps it from being frequently eaten solo. Instead its spiciness is mixed into salads or its attention-getting color is taken advantage of as a garnish.

History

Radishes are thought to have originated in China, but spread very early to the Mediterranean. Radishes were so prized among the Greeks that their worship of Apollo included the production of golden radish replicas. The level of esteem at which radishes were held is evident when it is noted that Greek replicas of beets and turnips were made of silver and lead respectively (only the radish was gold-worthy).

Varieties

The most common radish in the U.S. is the small, oval-shaped red radish that is familiar in salad bars across the nation.

Used traditionally in Indian and Japanese dishes, daikon radishes are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. They look much different from our little red radish: they are cylindrical, white and long—they can weigh up to a pound!

Buying Tips

The common red radish can be found in grocery stores, and while daikon is sometimes available in grocery produce sections, it is always carried in Asian specialty markets.

Radishes should have brightly-colored skin, be free of scars and blemishes, and feel firm. Radishes can be sold with or without their leaves attached; if they still have their leaves, the leaves should be bright green and healthy-looking.

Storage Tips

Store radishes, with leaves removed, in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They can last up to a week this way.

Usage Tips

Wash radishes before using and allow them to soak in ice water for an hour or two for additional crispness and slightly less intense taste.

Radishes are tasty raw with a bit of salt, or they can be cooked using one of an assortment of methods.

• Try letting radishes simmer in half an inch of water for 5-10 minutes to become more tender.

• Microwave sliced radishes with a spoonful of broth or water for four minutes.

Steam radishes in a vegetable steamer over boiling water to take some of their spicy bite away.

Stir-fry radishes for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to keep them on heat for too long as they will become too soft.

Nutrition Notes

Regular radishes are a source of iron, sulfur and vitamin C.


Try one of our favorite radish recipes:
Daikon and Carrot Salad
Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew (Pozole)
Green Salad with Dill Dressing
by BigOven editorial team
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