Written by Michelle Kish
    Click here for Putting Down Roots Part 2: Turnips

    Red Globe (left) and French Breakfast radishes harvested at The Learning Garden.

    One of the most commonly available roots in the US is the radish, but often people do not know what to do with them besides cutting thin slices into salads. There are, however, many ways to prepare them and many varieties available, all with their own unique look and taste. Some of the common varieties you may see at your local farmers market are:

    Red globe – The most common & easily identified type of radish. Small to mid-sized red or pink round variety with mild taste.

    French Breakfast – Slender, cylindrical radish with pink or red tips and white flesh up to the leaves. Mildly peppery with a strong juicy crunch.

    Easter Egg – Mid to large sized globe radishes in a variety of colors (red, pink, yellow, white, purple) all from the same seed package. Ranging in spice from mild to medium.

    Watermelon – A large radish (globe or oblong) that is white or white and green on the outside and pink or pink with an inner circle of green on the inside. Known for the colorful slices it produces. Both peppery and sweet in taste.

    Red Globe radishes harvested at The Learning Garden.

    Black Spanish – Large globe radish with black outside skin and bright white inside flesh. Very crisp, almost turnip-like texture with hot, peppery flavor.

    White Icicle – Four-to-six-inch-long carrot shaped root with white flesh inside and out. Crisp texture with mild to medium spiciness.

    Daikon – Large to gigantic white or off-white roots. Vary greatly in spiciness, shape and size but are most commonly available as a mildly spicy large cylindrical root.

    Some people may read the varieties above and think, “So many radishes and so little to do with them!” But that is far from the case. Radishes can be used in a variety of different ways from raw to pickled to cooked. Follow below for some easy radish recipe tips:

    Butter and Salt: Cut red globe or French Breakfast radishes in half lengthwise. Spread with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Enjoy as an appetizer or as part of your breakfast.

    Slaw: Thinly slice (or grate) radishes and a slicing cucumber and combine. Add olive oil, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt and lemon juice to taste. Mix and chill before serving. Optional: add chives for an oniony flavor or grated jalapenos for a kick.

    Red Globe radishes harvested at The Learning Garden.

    Pasta: Prepare pasta of your choice. Cut radishes in halves or fourths depending on size. Sautee in olive oil with minced garlic until the flesh starts to become translucent. Add chopped radish greens and sauté until they begin to wilt. Add small portion of butter, stir until melted. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Toss pasta in pan to coat. Serve while hot.

    Quick Pickled: Radishes can be quick pickled with a variety of flavors from a basic vinegar/salt/sugar combination to spicy pickles with chilis to a sweet turmeric pickle (common with daikon radish). Many quick pickle radish recipes are available on the internet some of which take as little as 20 mins.

    Roasted: Cut radishes in halves or fourths and toss with olive oil. Lay in single layer on lined or greased pan. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and seasonings of your choice (rosemary and thyme pair well with root vegetables, oregano is also a good compliment to radish). Roast in oven at 425f until fork easily pierces (approximately 35 mins). Optional: add additional root vegetables to roasting pan prepared in the same way. Just make sure they are cut in complimentary sizes so cook time is similar.