Radishes are the perfect antidote to the gray, slushy days of winter. They’re vibrant in color and flavor, they contain an impressive amount of antioxidants and other key nutrients, and they can be enjoyed raw or cooked in all sorts of culinary preparations.
Granted, these cruciferous roots may not be as alluring as other cold-weather superfoods like kale and heirloom carrots, but what they lack in pop-culture coverage they more than make up for in history and prolific use throughout the world. Radishes were enjoyed by the Chinese as early as 2,700 B.C., and they were a staple of the Egyptian diet before construction began on the great pyramids. By the 1500s A.D. they were ingrained in the cuisines of England, Germany, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and today you’ll find them in classic dishes from just about every continent.
Only ever heard of petite spring varieties like French Breakfast and Cherry Belles? Do yourself a favor and pick up a few winter radishes from the Farmstand. These larger varieties come in a range of vibrant colors—from bright white to fade-out green to neon pink—and they vary widely in size and shape, some cylindrical, some pointed like icicles, and others perfectly round like softballs. Their flesh is firm and crunchy when raw, tender and creamy when cooked, with a spicy-sweet flavor of varying intensity. Plus, they are a great source of vitamin C, they have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties, and they have been shown to aid in respiratory and cardiovascular health.
To learn more about these underrated winter veggies, check out the resources and recipes listed below.
- Radish Butter on Toasted Baguette, via Martha Strewart
- Cabbage-Radish Slaw With Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette, via the New York Times
- Winter Salad with Black Radish, Apple, and Escarole, via Epicurious
- Roasted Potatoes, Fennel & Radishes with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce, via The Kitchn
- Radish Risotto, via the Washington Post
- Beef Stew with White Radish, via What to Cook Today