- Talk about your healthy vegetable! A serving of radish slices (about half a cup) adds a little spice to any meal, while contributing just 15 calories!
- And since a serving also delivers 20 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C, radishes are a good source of a nutrient that helps keep cells healthy by protecting them from oxidation.
The radish is deeply rooted in cuisines from nearly every continent. (Its name even comes from the Latin word for root, radix.) For centuries, radishes have been pepping up dishes in China, Greece, Europe and the Americas. And as for its flavor, this veggie's family tree pretty much says it all: The radish is related to turnips and mustard plants, and tastes like a cross between the two.
As a root vegetable, the radish consists of a small, roundish root topped by broad green leaves. By far the most common kind of radish you'll find in the grocery store is the Red Globe, or "button," variety. Its tasty red root is about an inch wide. Other types include the Black (which is hotter and less moist inside), the Daikons (a medium-spicy, carrot-sized variety used for Asian cuisine), the California Mammoth White (which looks just like it sounds) and horseradish, a long, white root whose gratings can be mixed with vinegar to create a spicy sauce.
When are Radishes in Season?
Radishes may peak between late fall and early spring, but they're available all year.
How to Choose Radishes
This root vegetable usually comes tied in bunches in the fresh produce section of your supermarket. Choose radishes that are firm and red, with a smooth, even surface. The leaves should be bright green and unwilted. Avoid radishes with limp leaves or a soft, spongy root.
How to Store Radishes
Radishes keep well in the refrigerator. Simply remove their leafy tops, place them in a resealable plastic bag and pop them into the fridge's vegetable drawer. Most radishes will stay fresh for about two weeks.
How to Cook with Radishes
Most of the time, you'll be eating raw radish slices, which preserve the root's hot, mustardy taste. To prepare a radish for a salad, vegetable wrap or crudité platter, give it a good scrub under cold tap water. Snip off any remaining leaves or stems, and also cut away the small, pointy tip of the root itself. Now you can use a paring knife to slice the radish root into thin, circular wafers or to chop it into small shreds.
For a meal-for-one, you'll probably just need a radish or two at most. Larger recipes may call for radish slices measured in half cups.
For a milder flavor, jicama (HIH-cuh-muh) is a small tuber that has a much more neutral savor to it. If you'd like your radishes a little on the hot side, the Black variety is much spicier.
Radishes in Recipes
Most of the time, radishes will accent your dish, rather than acting as its main ingredient. This means that just a few radish slices are all you'll need to give a meal color, crispness and a little heat.
This Mediterranean-style Orange and Olive Salad, for instance, uses half a cup of radishes to make four servings of a peppery-sweet mélange.
For a crunchy lunch on the go, wrap Romaine lettuce, carrot shreds, chickpeas and radish slices in a tortilla. Add fat-free Italian dressing, and this Green Salad Roll-Up is a delectable treat for your palate.
And if you want something a little more rib-sticking, Healthified Red Potato and Tuna Salad uses radish slices to turn a traditional picnic side into an irresistible main dish.