Mar 28 2012

Fresh from the Market: Spring Radishes

I've taken to eating radishes as the French do: whole, served with one ramekin of whipped butter and another of chunky sea salt. I dip a small radish in the butter, sprinkle it with a touch of salt, and take a crunchy bite. The French call this Radis-beurre. Eating radishes in this manner inspires me to eat in the opposite way I normally eat an appetizer or a snack: I slow down, I take my time sprinkling the salt on top, I thoughtfully chew each vegetable. I could never picture myself eating French fries this way!

As a future raised bed gardener, I've noticed that nearly every gardening article I've read heralds radishes as one of the easiest foods a home gardener can grow. This is partially because the vegetables mature so rapidly (spring varieties can reach maturity in three to four weeks) and partially because you can extend radishes' harvest period by planting new seeds every fourteen days.


Radishes are members of the mustard family. The radishes pictured with this post are easter egg radishes. Other common radishes are red globe radishes, long slender white radishes, and daikon radishes. Click here to see a more comprehensive list of different varieties.

Flavor Profile:

Biting, peppery---you can reduce the peppery taste by peeling the skin.

In the Kitchen:

Buy radishes with vibrant green tops, much like the radishes pictured here. You can save the radish greens for stock, simmer them in soups, or sautee them. Look for blemish-free vegetables with smooth skin.

If you can't eat your radishes within the first 3 days of buying them, separate the tops from the vegetables and store each separately in your refrigerator. Spring/summer varieties can be stored for up to 7 days and fall/winter varieties can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

If not eating the radishes in the Radis-beurre style, consider braising the radishes in butter, stir frying them with some ginger and garlic, or roasting them whole with olive oil.

Growing Season:

Spring varieties grow between late March and June. Fall varieties, including Daikons, grow and are harvested between October and December.

Winter varieties are both bigger and slower to develop than spring radishes. In the Spring, radishes are harvested as soon as the roots reach edible size; in the Fall, radishes can be left in the ground and harvested at a much larger size.

Interesting Links:

Radishes as competition for Proactive?!

Root vegetables, including radishes, anthropomorphized.

Resources: Mother Earth News, University of Illinois Extension, The Produce Bible, Wikipedia