Radishes are an edible root of the family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae - the same family as broccoli, kale or cabbage to name a few. They have more of a pungent flavour that may or may not be something you like.
Unsplash - Philippe Collard
By Wendy Behenna July 22, 2022
Radishes are grown throughout the world. They are mostly eaten raw as a crunchy vegetable in salads, added to sandwiches or dipped into hummus or other dips as a healthy snack. There are numerous varieties and they come in different colours and sizes.
History of the Radish
Today radishes are found throughout the world but there are very few records to help establish their early history or domestication. Scientist have only found wild radish in Southeast Asia, so they believe this might be where they originated. About 2500 years ago, Ancient Greeks and Romans used radishes for food and medicinal purposes. The radish could be one of the first European crops introduced to the Americas.
These crunchy root vegetables are a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin C which acts like an antioxidant that may protect our cells from being damaged and boost our immune system. They also have a good source of calcium and potassium, and together these Unsplash -Jo Lants nutrients may help to lower high
blood pressure. Radishes are also a good source of natural nitrates which help to increase blood flow. All of these nutrients make radishes good for our cardiovascular health.
Radishes are very low in calories and carbs, and have a low glycemic index which means they won't spike your insulin level. The high water content found in radishes may also help with your daily hydration goals. They are also good for our digestion because of their high fiber content.
Types of Radishes
Radishes can be picked up at your local grocery store or Farmer's Market. They are most abundant in early spring. There are many different kinds but the most common are the red radish or also known as round radish or globe radish. Another type of radish you may know of is the daikon Unsplash - Michele Blackwell or Japanese radish. This long white radish looks similar to a parsnip. Kimchi is a fermented spicy Korean side dish that can be made with both of these types of radishes which adds to it's spiciness.
Another interesting radish that we don't see to often is a watermelon radish (see above photo). The outside is a pale green colour but the inside reveals a beautiful pink colour. They may look like a watermelon but don't have the same taste. Watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon radish and grow to the size of a golf ball or tennis ball.
How To Grow
Radishes are an easy to grow vegetable indoors or out. They are a quick growing and should only take 30-45 days till harvest.
The best method to grow radishes outdoors is the direct sowing method. Plant the seeds in the early spring or once the weather cools Unsplash - Meghan Schiereck down in the fall. They germinate best in cooler soil. To grow them indoors there are lots of references online. They can be grown in soil or hydroponically. Growing them indoors gives you a constant supply all year round.
Here are a few ideas how to use radishes in your kitchen.
in a salad to add crispiness and a touch of spice
raw sprinkled with salt
shredded and used in coleslaw
sautéed with other veggies
Don't forget the greens. The green leaves can be steamed or sautéed and dressed however you like.
Check out these 29 Radish Recipes to give you some inspiration to try them Unsplash - Nadine Primeau in different ways.
Wendy Behenna is a retired Medical Laboratory Technologist who now uses the kitchen as a "lab" to create healthy, real food dishes. As a graduate of the Culinary Nutrition Program, she wants to share the knowledge she acquired to help people with meal planning and cooking skills, especially those transitioning to a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle. She is also a Certified Tea Sommelier and loves incorporating tea in her recipes when possible.