Have you ever strolled through a farmers market or grocery store, admiring the beautiful rows of radishes, and thought about buying them to enjoy at home but stopped short because you couldn’t figure out how to cook them?
If you are looking for different ways to enjoy this vegetable, then you are in the right place. Read on to find out about the benefits of this vegetable, the different varieties that you can find out in the market, as well as a variety of radish recipes to experiment with.
What Are Radishes & What Are Their Benefits
According to Britannica, radish is an annual or biennial plant in the mustard family. While most people recognize this plant from its taproot, a little-known fact is that all parts of the radish can be consumed.
The root is what is often eaten, and any radish recipes for salad will often have the root added to them. The young leaves can be cooked as one would spinach, and the plant’s fruit can be eaten raw or simply sauteed.
It should be noted that while radishes are seen and usually grown in the spring and summer, there are some varieties that do well in the winter. Spring varieties are usually quick-growing and have mild, crisp, moderately firm flesh, while the summer and winter varieties take longer to grow and are generally larger than spring radishes (14).
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Different Types of Radishes
This root comes in different varieties, shapes, and colors. Its colors (on the outside) range from white, yellow, pink, red, purple, or black, and its shapes can range from spherical to long and cylindrical or tapered (14).
There are over 100 varieties of this root. Here are some of the most common types that you may come across:
Many radish recipes of Asian origin will very likely use this type of radish. The daikon is native to East Asia and is often found in many Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian dishes.
The daikon is a winter variety and the long white cylindrical root has a cool, sweet, and mildly peppery flavor. While it can be eaten raw, it is often pickled, baked, boiled, or added to stir-fry dishes. The root is low in calories and high in vitamin C and folate (6, 5).
This variety has a reddish-pink color and an oblong shape. Taste-wise, the French breakfast radish has mild, peppery flavor and crisp texture. Native to France, this root is often enjoyed in a snack or by itself with some salt or butter and salt (20).
This variety is usually green near the stalk and cream-colored at the tips – both in the inside and the outside. According to Healthline, this variety has a mild, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor and can be used as an alternative in white radish recipes.
This variety is perhaps the most common variety known all over the world.
Cherry belles are round and have smooth, bright red skin with crisp white flesh inside. Available all year round, this variety has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and is great for salads but can be baked, roasted, and marinated for a tasty side dish.
As their name suggests, this variety closely resembles watermelons with vividly pink interiors and a green exterior. According to MasterClass, this variety originated from China, and it’s a heirloom variety of the daikon radish.
Flavor-wise, watermelon radishes have a fresh and slightly peppery taste, similar to that of arugula or turnips. Like cherry belles, watermelon radishes are also available all year round (19).
Also known as black radishes, this variety has an all-black exterior and white interior. Black rashies have a sharp, spicy flavor reminiscent of horseradish and are in peak season in the winter through early spring.
This root has a sharp and pungent flavor and is very popular in southeastern European and Western Asian cuisines. It’s best served grated over roasted meats and potatoes or as a flavoring for hearty soups or stews (1).
This variety has a sweet, earthy flavor and is popular for its striking violet skin and crisp white interior.
Read more: Your Guide to Horseradish Health Benefits
Benefits of Radishes
- Home remedies – Regardless of variety, radishes have been traditionally used in home remedies for a variety of issues such as digestive problems, like indigestion and gastric pain, and respiratory conditions, such as cough (15).
- May have antidiabetic effects – A review of studies spanning 30 years found that this root vegetable may have antidiabetic effects, possibly due to its antioxidant activity, it’s ability to affect hormonal-induced glucose homeostasis, promote glucose uptake and energy metabolism, and reduce glucose absorption in the intestine(15).
- May also have anticancer properties – Like other cruciferous vegetables, radishes contain compounds called isothiocyanates, which may have cancer-fighting properties (21).
- May lower the risk of heart disease – This root vegetable is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and minerals like potassium. These nutrients all have benefits that may help reduce your risk of heart disease (18, 12).
What Can I Do With A Bunch Of Radishes?
There is so much you can do with radishes. Some ways you can enjoy them include:
- Have them raw as a snack with some salt – and butter
- Pickle them – Many radish recipes of Asian origin – especially Korean and Japanese dishes – often have pickled radishes as a side dish/topping.
- Add them to salads – By slicing them really thinly or choosing to jullien them you can add them to a variety of salads
- Roast them – Roasted vegetables are a simple low-carb dinner side dish that can be enjoyed by anyone. Roasted radish recipes are also a good option for anyone looking to have a roasted potato substitute without the extra starch/carbs.
- Make some radish coleslaw – Cabbage and carrots aren’t the only vegetables that can make this side dish.
- Grill them and serve with grilled steak or other meat
- Add them to sandwiches and tacos – Slice them very thinly, chop them really small or just julienne.
What Is The Best Way To Eat Radishes?
While they can be baked, added to stews, grilled, sauteed, etc., one of the best ways to enjoy these root vegetables is to simply eat them raw. Their crunchy texture and peppery taste shine best when they are eaten raw.
Are Radishes Better Raw Or Cooked?
Radishes are great either way – it just depends on preference. However, it is important to note that radishes are a good source of vitamin C – a nutrient that doesn’t respond well to heat.
Research has shown that vitamin C is quite sensitive to heat and many vegetables will lose up to 50 percent of their Vitamin C content when cooked, especially in water into which the vitamin C can leech. Radishes also contain B vitamins which are water soluble and can be lost into the cooking water if you boil them (8, 7).
What Not To Eat With Radish
Some sources claim that you should not eat radish with either oranges, cucumbers, bitter gourd (aka bitter melon) or milk. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Why Would A Person Crave Radishes?
They could simply just be craving the vegetable because they haven’t had it for a long time or they really love radishes. Some sources claim that a radish craving could signify an iron and zinc deficiency but there’s really no scientific proof to back this claim.
It is also important to note that while this root vegetable does have both iron and zinc, it is only available in trace amounts – radishes are not the best sources for these two minerals (13).
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Are Radishes Good For Weight Loss?
Are radishes good for weight loss? Yes, they are.
100 g of this root vegetable only has 16 kcal and only 3.4 g of carbs (13). Aside from being good for weight loss, radishes are also good for your health. This vegetable ticks most of the boxes in the 7 types of nutrition – namely water, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fats and protein contents might be small but you can pair radishes with another source of protein and healthy fat for a balanced meal.
What Are Some Kid-Friendly Radish Recipes?
One of the best ways to introduce radishes to kids is by adding them to tacos or sandwiches – either raw or pickled. If you cut them into small pieces, it’s easy for children (even picky eaters) to consume them.
Radish Recipes Easy
Other than consuming these root vegetables raw, pickled radishes are another, easy and quick way to prepare and consume radishes. Here’s how to pickle radishes:
- ½ pound radishes (226 g)
- ½ cup white or apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional)
- Star by sterilizing a large mason jar and placing it aside
- In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, water, salt, spices, and bay leaf to a boil.
- As this comes to a boil, thinly slice your washed and dried radishes into rings.
- Add the radish rings to the mason jar
- Ladle hot pickling liquid over radishes. Using a clean spoon, push the radishes down to ensure that there are no air pockets in the jar.
- Leave the jar uncovered on the counter to allow the liquid to cool.
- Once fully cooled, serve the pickles or cover and put in the fridge. The pickled radishes can last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
The Bottom Line
Radishes are an underrated vegetable that everyone should strive to consume. Aside from being low in calories and carbs, they are highly nutritious, thus good for your health.
Finding different radish recipes is a good way to ensure that not only do you get to enjoy these vegetables in fun new ways but also avoid food waste. The next time you see them at the grocery store, get a couple of bunches and experiment with them!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- All About Horseradish (2019, thespruceeats.com)
- Antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of common vegetables: A comparative study (2009, sciencedirect.com)
- Are isothiocyanates potential anti-cancer drugs? (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Bitter melon, horseradish, jute, or radish leaves, cooked (2022, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Daikon (n.d., britannica.com)
- Daikon radish, cooked (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Hexane Extract of Raphanus sativus L. Roots Inhibits Cell Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cells by Modulating Genes Related to Apoptotic Pathway (2010, link.springer.com)
- How to Store Radishes: 6 Ways to Store Radishes (2021, masterclass.com)
- ORGAN SYSTEMS: DETOXIFICATION (n.d., vetmed.tamu.edu)
- Potassium (2023, hsph.harvard.edu)
- Radish, raw (2022, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Radish (2023, britannica.com)
- Radish (Raphanus sativus) and Diabetes (2017, mdpi.com)
- Radish (Raphanus sativus L. leaf) ethanol extract inhibits protein and mRNA expression of ErbB2 and ErbB3 in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Wonder of Three Ingredients (2017, nytimes.com)
- Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Watermelon Radish Recipe: 4 Ways to Enjoy Watermelon Radish (2022, masterclass.com)
- What Are French Breakfast Radishes? (2022, thespruceeats.com)
- Isothiocyanates (n.d., lpi.oregonstate.edu)