All About Radishes

Radishes
Radishes

Radishes are a mainstay in most gardens, farmer’s markets, and CSA deliveries.

I enjoy radishes, but only in small amounts. I find them quite strong and sharp tasting. But, I am discovering that this may just be because I am being way too boring with these lovely red gems.

All I have ever thought to do with them is add them to salads. But, there are many other things that can be done – including cooking them.

UPDATE: Radishes are now one of my favourite things! After discovering that I could actually cook them, I was hooked. You must try roasted radishes – it is a game changer!

What are Radishes?

Radishes are a very fast growing root vegetable that many gardeners and small farmers love to grow. Aside from the small red variety, there are many others.

They can be eaten raw and have a sharp peppery flavour. If you like them raw, but want to cut down the sharpness, try marinating them in apple cider vinegar and salt. This will help tone done the flavour.

Although most radishes found in grocery stores do not include the green tops, these greens are also edible. But, these greens tend to be a bit hairy. This makes them less appealing raw in a salad. Your best bet is to pick out the most tender leaves and cook them until wilted and soft.

If you only think of radishes in terms of salads you are missing out. Radishes do very well cooked and the cooking process softens the flavour a lot.

Whether you grow your own; receive them in a CSA delivery; or find them at the market; try cooking them. You can cook them any way you like: roast, pan-fry, saute, boil, braise.

Storage:

  • Separate the greens from the radishes and store separately. When removing the greens, leave a little bit on the radish (about 1/4 inch). Wash the greens very well and store in a plastic bag or airtight container with a piece of paper towel to help control the humidity.
  • There is no need to wash the radishes or remove the small root before storing. Just brush off any dirt and inspect for insects. Place in a plastic bag or air tight container.
  • Although fresh always tastes better, both raw greens and radishes can be frozen. Separate the greens from the radishs and blanch both separately. Greens need 30 seconds, and radishes need 2.5 minutes. Be sure that all the radishes are cut into about the same size for even blanching.
  • When freezing, lay them out on a cookie sheet in one layer and place it in the freezer for a few hours. Then transfer into airtight container or freezer-safe bag. This will prevent them from clumping together. Don’t forget to label with the name and date.

Preparation

To prepare radishes:

  • If not already done, remove the greens and trim off small root.
  • Wash the greens very well and scrub the radishes under cold water. If you are having trouble removing dirt from the radishes or greens, let them soak in cold water for 15 minutes or so. The dirt will loosen and fall away.
  • There is no need to peel the radishes.
  • If cooking the radishes, try to make them about the same size by cutting larger ones.

Uses For Radishes

Radishes can be used in so many dishes:

  • Add raw to salads, stir-fries, as a garnish
  • Cook with their greens – add greens in the last few minutes so that they can wilt but not over cook
  • Pickled
  • Thinly sliced with a bit of salt, served raw
  • To really mellow out their flavour, try our Roasted Radishes recipe

Do you love radishes? Let us know how you like to prepare them.

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