Colorful little radishes are one of the first crops ready to harvest in the spring. They’re a cheerful sight on salads, sandwiches, and tacos. Some folks enjoy just dunking them right into dips like hummus or banga cauda. The greens are edible, too!
Most of the radishes we see in stores are bright pinkish red and about the size of golf balls, but there are hundreds of varieties, with all kinds of shapes, sizes, and color.
Let’s explore the realm of radishes and see what you can whip up with them.
When Are Radishes in Season?
Radishes are a cold weather crop and most associated with spring, though in some climates they thrive in other seasons, too. They’re one of the easiest and quickest crops you can grow in a garden.
Radish varieties can be pure white, light green, red, or variegated. Their inner flesh is usually white, but some types have pretty colors and patterns.
Round radishes are the bright pink radishes you likely think of when you think of a radish! When they're sold in brightly-hued purple and pink groupings, they're called "Easter" radishes because they call to mind dyed Easter eggs (and because they're available in springtime).
A large, white, versatile radish that can grow up to a foot long, daikon can be shredded and used raw, pickled in a vinegar brine, lacto-fermented (it’s often included in kimchi), stir-fried, or braised.
Watermelon radishes have a large diameter and a dramatic cross-section that transitions from green at the rim to pin in the center. Slices of this radish are especially attractive on a crudité platter!
Other types of radishes include French Breakfast radishes, which are elongated rather than round and have red tops that fade to white tips, and Black Spanish radishes, a larger radish with a strong flavor that mellow out when cooked.
What Do Radishes Taste Like?
Radishes have a high water content, and their crunchy texture has a lot to do with the experience of eating them. Some radishes are mild flavored, while others have a peppery bite slightly reminiscent of horseradish. This makes sense; they’re in the Brassicaceae family, just like mustard and horseradish!
Where to Buy Radishes
Radishes can be found at most grocery stores. Farmers markets are good places to find radishes, too. International markets carry many different types of radishes. You’ll either find radishes in bunches with their greens still attached or trimmed and in bags weighing about a pound. Large radishes, such as daikon, are sold individually.
Look for firm radishes. If their greens are still attached, check to see they are fresh. Radishes are a cool weather crop. To grow them at home, plant them early in the spring or later in the fall. Sow the seeds directly in the ground rather than transplanting.
How to Store Radishes
Once cleaned and refrigerated, radishes keep well for a long time—up to a month or even longer. When you bring a bunch of radishes home, first detach the greens, which spoil quickly. (The greens are often full of gritty soil. If you plan to eat them, wash them well, pat dry, and cook them in a day or two.)
After removing the greens, rinse the radishes, dry them well, bag them in a zip-top bag with a paper towel or kitchen towel, and keep them in the crisper. They’ll be ready to use or snack on straight from the fridge and will stay crisp up to 3 weeks.
Bagged radishes without their greens are ready to toss right into your crisper, but if there’s excess moisture in the bag, pat the radishes dry first.
How to Prep and Cook Radishes
Radishes are usually served raw, and often thinly sliced. You can cut them into matchsticks, dice them, or cut them into wedges—the different shape can give a better texture or contrast with other ingredients you’re using.
Roasting radishes makes them slightly sweet. They are a terrific low-carb alternative to roasted potatoes. Toss them in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400°F for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slouchy. Serve hot or cold.
Other ideas for using radishes:
- Add radishes to a stew instead of potatoes to reduce carbs.
- Daikon radish is often pickled, though it can be braised or stir-fried, too.
- Radish greens are wonderful quickly sauteed. They’re most similar in flavor and texture to turnip greens, but their stems are more tender.
- Sliced raw radishes are a traditional garnish for several Mexican dishes. They help cut the earthy heat of posole and give a pop of color and texture to all sorts of tacos.
- A classic and very simple radish dish is radish and butter sandwiches. Generously spread good butter on thinly sliced bread and top with sliced radishes.
Radishes work well with many flavors in salads, or as a crispy and fresh garnish for creamy, rich, or bean-y dishes.
- Radish Salad with Mint and Pistachios
- Roasted Radish and Feta Salad
- Shaved Spring Vegetable Salad
- Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles