21 February 2024

Get to know the winter radish!

Inspired by the Culinary Breeding Network’s Instagram post with a lovely illustration featuring different varieties, we decided to dive deep into winter radish. 

These versatile root veggies vary in size, shape, color, & flavors, PLUS they are entirely edible from leafy top to rooty bottom!

They can be enjoyed raw:

  • Top salads, sandwiches, tacos or stews with sliced or grated radishes.
  • Add sliced or chopped radishes to vegetable or grain salads.
  • Add finely chopped radishes to dips or salsa.
  • Place thinly sliced radishes on a slice of buttered rustic ciabatta with a sprinkle of finishing salt.

When cooked (i.e., baked, roasted, sautéed, simmered, braised, etc) winter radishes become entirely new vegetables, making them a great addition to any meal during the colder season. 

Pickled and fermented radishes are pretty exceptional too!




Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are edible cruciferous vegetables of the mustard family, Brassicaceae. Also part of the family are cabbage, broccoli, and turnips.

Radishes owe their sharp piquant flavor are largely due to a group of sulphur-containing compounds called isothiocyanates. These are the same compounds that makes mustard, horseradish, and wasabi spicy. (Looking to reduce the sharp flavor? Try peeling them or soaking them in ice water before eating.)

Radishes contain antioxidants and are rich in several vitamins and minerals:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Thiamine
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Manganese



The origin of radishes is in Southeast Asia when the Chinese started to domesticate them in the third century B.C. The cultivation of radishes soon spread westward through India, Greece and the Roman Empire.

In the 14th century, Italians developed the fast-growing small red varieties we still enjoy today. They were favored due to their quick growth during cool Spring seasons.

In the 15th century, white carrot-shaped and red icicle radishes became popular because they could be grown quite densely in expensive-to-run winter greenhouses.

By the 16th century, winter radish varieties were introduced, which could be started in late summer for a fall harvest and easily stored through the winter. The Spanish black radish was the most popular, becoming a reliable winter staple for European peasants. Its high vitamin C content prevented scurvy.



We have spotted the following winter radish varieties at the market this season: 


Also known as Spanish radishes, Black radishes possess a distinct flavor and visual appeal that often goes unnoticed due to their charcoal skin, which may resemble a dirty beetroot. 

Black radishes have a bold and slightly spicy flavor. While they may not be as commonly used as other radish varieties, black radishes shine when incorporated into Southeast Asian dishes such as ramen noodle bowls and pho, where their robust taste can truly shine.

More about black radishes and recipes here.





Grown throughout East and South Asian countries, Daikon radishes are most commonly white and carrot-shaped. They also come in different hues (including red, green, and purple) and shapes (cylindrical, elliptical, and spherical).

The Daikon flavor is milder than other radish varieties and is slightly sweet yet spicy.

Though it can be consumed raw, Daikon is often baked, boiled, braised, or added to stir-fried dishes. It can also be pickled and fermented and used as a condiment in dishes like banh mi.

Daikon radishes also pair exceptionally well with Asian flavors such as sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Combining these ingredients creates a harmonious blend of tastes that complements the mild sweetness of the radish.

More about Daikon radishes and recipes here.

Korean Daikon Radish Salad

Pickled Daikon Radish

Baked Daikon Radish French Fries




An Chinese heirloom variety of the daikon radish, the Watermelon radish offers a subtly sweet flavor with a slight peppery zing. With its bright green exterior and hot pink interior, it’s perfect for adding a pop of spicy color to salads, sushi bowls, tacos, sandwiches, and avocado toast. In Chinese, they are called shinri-mei, which means “beauty in the heart.”

Watermelon Radish Salad

Four Ways to Enjoy Watermelon Radish

Quick-Pickled Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish Toast with Tahini-Miso Spread



Green Luouo

Also known as Green Meat, this Asian specialty radish is great for making kimchi or fresh, crisp, crunchy eating. It’s flavor has an up-front sweetness with a sneak attack heat. 

Cubed Radish Kimchi (Kkakdugi)

Green Luobos and Broccoli Soup

Preserved Daikon Radish

Simmered Daikon




And here are some of the winter radishes’ all-season cousins:


Also known as a table radish, this is a common variety of radish with bright red skin, white flesh, and a round shape.

They are crispy and firm with a mild peppery flavor and are typically sliced and enjoyed raw or paired with hummus or other dips. They are delicious grilled, roasted, or baked and served alongside other root vegetables like parsnips or potatoes.

Simple Roasted Radishes

Sheet Pan Dill Radishes and Salmon

Grilled Radishes



French Breakfast

The name of this radish variety originates from its traditional consumption as a snack in France – enjoyed by spreading butter on top of a baguette and placing slices of French breakfast radish on it. While these radishes are delicious when eaten raw, they are also highly versatile and can be pickled, sautéed, or braised to bring out different flavors and textures.

Additionally, the French Breakfast radish pairs exceptionally well with sharp and creamy cheeses such as feta or goat cheese, creating a delightful combination of flavors.

More recipe ideas here!




Malaga Violet

For those who prefer a milder flavor without the overpowering spiciness, the Malaga Violet radish is an excellent choice to add a subtle zing and satisfying crunch to your dishes.

This Polish variety of radish features a round shape and a distinctive deep purple color. Its mild and sweet taste makes it perfect for enjoying raw in salads, summer rolls, and tacos. 

Radish and Crispy Tofu Summer Rolls

Baked Radish Chips




Don’t throw out the tops! You can use radish greens in a variety of recipes:

  • Sauté them in olive oil for a simple side dish.
  • Toss them into a salad.
  • Add them to soups, stews, or casseroles.
  • Use them in place of basil for pesto sauce.

These greens are low in calories and contain protein, magnesium, and vitamins C and K.

More radish greens recipes here!


Keep radishes in a covered container or loose plastic in the refrigerator – they should keep for a week.

To keep radishes fresher for longer than a week, try the water immersion method.

Store the radish greens separately from the radish bulb themselves.