Radishes are a springtime favorite. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of radish season, including what to expect from different varieties, how to select them at the farmers market, and ways to use the bulbous roots as well as the leafy greens—so you don’t waste a bite of these valuable root vegetables.
How to Select and Store Radishes
Classic red radishes are available at supermarkets year-round, but check farmers markets in spring and early summer for a slew of vibrant varieties. Select very firm radishes with bright leaves; skip any with leaves already removed, which makes it trickier to gauge freshness. (If you really prefer bagged radishes that have already been trimmed, give them a gentle squeeze to be sure they are very firm.)
Storage: Remove the leaves and clean the radishes as soon as you get them home. Left attached, the greens will continue to draw moisture from the root. Separated from their greens and stored loosely in a bag, radishes will keep for about a week in the fridge. (Don’t clean the delicate leaves until you’re ready to eat them, which you should do within a day or two of purchase. Keep reading for tips on how to use the greens.)
There are dozens of radish varieties. Here are a few favorites to experiment with in the kitchen.
North America’s iconic radish is easy to find, making it great for everyday snacking.
Slightly sweet and mild, the French Breakfast radish is a white-tipped oblong beauty that was first cultivated in the late 19th century.
Easter Eggs are small, round radishes that, appropriately, come in festive shades of red, pink, white, and purple.
The Watermelon Radish is an heirloom-variety beloved by chefs. It reveals its bold fuchsia flesh when sliced.
How to Use Radish Greens
Like radish roots, radish tops boast plenty of vitamin C and glucosinolates, compounds that may protect against cancer, so don’t toss them. Snip off the greens when you get home, and then either refrigerate or rinse well and prepare as you would kale or chard.
Toss radish greens into veggie-packed pastas and stews, swap them for basil in plant-based pesto, or blend them into smoothies for added nutrients and zing.
- For extra-crisp texture, drop raw radishes in an ice water bath before slicing and serving.
- Use a mandoline to shave radishes into super thin rounds, and add them to salads or crudités platters for pretty presentation.
- Not into the peppery bite of raw radishes? Try roasting, stir-frying, or sautéing and pureeing into velvety-smooth soups. Cooking radishes tames their heat while retaining some of their trademark crunch.
Do You Need to Peel Radishes?
No, you don’t need to remove the skin from radishes, but always give them a good scrub to remove dirt and any residue.
Easy Quick-Pickled Radishes
Just a handful of quick-pickled radishes will jazz up sandwiches, veggie burgers, tacos, and more. To make this simple yet flavor-packed DIY condiment, just soak radish slices in 1 cup vinegar and ¾ teaspoon sea salt (plus spices, if desired) for 1 hour, then drain.
Ready to get cooking? Try one of these fresh and tasty radish recipes from Forks Over Knives!
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