August 15, 2018

August 13, 2018 

If you are like me, radishes have always been that sharp, crunchy side offering at dinner, with the salt shaker close at hand or sliced thin as a colorful part of a green salad.

The variety we see most is the aptly named “Round Radish” or “Cherry Belle” which is common in the farm-stands and markets in season with its cheery color and audible crunch.

However, you might be surprised at the other radishes that are available at times. “French Breakfast” radishes are an elongated version of our friend the round variety and usually a bit milder in flavor. The “White Icicle”, the “Sparkler” and the “White Beauty” are varieties which are less commonly seen.

You can also find the white “Daikon” which is the most commonly available (and widely known) large radish variety. Daikons are often pickled or dried but are fantastic when grated into soups or added to a roasted or braised vegetable medley. The next time you stir fry, consider adding thin slices of Daikon to your mix.

If you are lucky in your market search you could find “Spanish” radishes with their very black exterior covering snowy white flesh. Ultra-thin slices of this variety can add a stunning visual element to a range of dishes.

You might even discover the “Watermelon” variety with green skin and a bright red-pink interior. Scrub them clean, cut them into wedges, and serve them as a sharp and beautiful crudité or cut into thin sticks to add to salads.

Finally, consider trying the bright and pungent fresh “Horseradish”, (yes, it is a radish) which was a favorite of both my father and grandfather. They always found humor in encouraging me to add more and more to my pot roast and then watching me try to put out the fire with my glass of milk. 

The fresh version of Horseradish doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste sometimes found in commercial versions. Horseradish perks up any meal and is especially good with the heavier roasts and stews of cold weather cooking, which works out great since it’s harvested in the fall and stores well over the winter. 

Track down some fresh, local radishes at the Farmer’s Market. They can certainly add color and crunchy flavor to your special fall menus. 

Jerry J. Shackette