are root vegetables with a distinctive flavour that range from the juicy
crispness of the familiar red globe radish to the sharp bite of the
turnip shaped black radish. Like their relatives broccoli, cabbage,
and kale, radishes are cruciferous vegetables that offer cancer protecting
potential. They were first cultivated thousands of years ago in China,
then in Egypt and Greece (where the vegetable was so highly regarded
that gold replicas were made of it). Since then, many varieties have
been developed in a number of shapes, sizes, and colours.
the UK , radishes are usually eaten raw; however, they can be added
to cooked dishes such as soups, or pickled, or heated and served as
a whole vegetable when they lose their spicy taste, but are delicious.
As with many other root vegetables, their green tops are edible and
lend a peppery taste to salads. While radishes are not nutritionally
outstanding, they are a good source of vitamin C. They make a perfect,
very low calorie snack food.
Growers classify radishes by shape,round, oval, oblong, and long are
the most common. Markets frequently label them by colour, red, white,
and black ones are the most frequently available. Black
radishes are turnip like in size and shape (about 8" long), these
have dull black or dark brown skin. When peeled, their flesh is white,
quite pungent, and drier than other radishes. "Black Spanish"
is the name for commercially grown black radishes, which are available
in round and long varieties.
Although red globe radishes can grow to 4" or 5" in diameter,
the ones in the produce department will probably be closer to the size
of a ping-pong ball, about 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter. Much
larger than that, red radishes are likely to be woody.
with their leaves intact are usually tied in bunches, while topped radishes
are sold in plastic bags. If the leaves are attached, they should be
crisp and green. Look for well-shaped radishes with good colour. Whether
red or white, the roots should be hard and solid, with a smooth, unblemished
surface. Check bagged radishes to make sure they are free of mould.
radishes should be solid, heavy, and free of cracks. Daikons, which
may be found at Asian markets and many supermarkets, should be evenly
shaped and firm, with a glossy, almost translucent sheen.
If you've bought radishes with their leaves attached, remove the tops
unless you'll be serving them the same day (leaf-topped radishes are
handsome on a crudite platter). Radishes will not keep as well with
their tops left on. The leaves, if fresh and green, can be cooked like
other greens or used in soups. Place radishes in plastic bags if they
are not already packaged. Both red radishes and daikons will keep for
up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Black radishes can be stored for
months if they remain dry; store them in perforated plastic bags in
Scrub the radishes and trim off the stem end and tip. Since it is their
skin that contains most of the enzymes that form the mustard oils responsible
for their pungency, you may want to peel the radishes. However, red
globe and white icicle radishes are rarely hot enough to warrant paring
(and it's a shame to remove the globes' cherry red skin). Daikons have
a very thin skin that can be removed with a vegetable peeler, if you
wish. Black radishes should be well scrubbed; whether you peel them
or not depends on the thickness of the skin. If it is thin, leave it
on; the dark color provides a striking contrast with the white flesh.
Small radishes can be served whole,
raw, or cooked; black radishes and daikons, which are larger and sharper,
are usually cut up or grated.