Michigan Fresh: Radishes (HNI50)
Using, Storing and Preserving Radishes
There are five main types of radishes:
This type is the most popular in the United States and is the familiar-looking red and white radish. It is small, round or oval, and sometimes referred to as “button” red radishes. The diameter ranges from 1 to 4 inches (most commonly closer to 1 inch), and the flesh is solid and crisp. Available year round.
This variety is turnip-like in size and shape and approximately 8 inches long. Black radishes have a dull black or dark brown skin. When peeled, their flesh is white, quite pungent and drier than that of other radishes. Black radishes have a longer shelf life than most radishes, so they are available year round, although the crop peaks in winter and early spring.
This type is native to Asia. Daikons are very large, carrot-shaped radishes that are up to 18 inches long and weigh 1 to 2 pounds. Daikons have a white flesh that is juicy and a bit hotter than that of a red radish but milder than the flesh of black radishes. They are available year round but are most flavorful in fall and winter.
This type is up to 6 inches long and tapered. Icicle radishes have white flesh that is milder than that of the red radishes. They are generally available year round.
California Mammoth White
Larger than the white icicle, these radishes have oblong-shaped roots about 8 inches long. Their flesh is slightly pungent. They are generally available year round.
Storage and food safety
Thoroughly wash radishes before eating raw. Many people discard the radish greens, but they are edible and nutritious. Radish leaves have a delicious peppery taste.
If radishes were purchased with the leaves attached, remove the tops unless they will be served the same day. Storing radishes for any length of time with the leaves left on will cause loss of nutrients and moisture, so if you plan to eat the greens, remove them from the radishes and store separately. The greens will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator.
Place radishes in plastic bags, if they are not already packaged, and store in the refrigerator. Most varieties will keep 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 the refrigerator.
Radishes are a good source of vitamin C.
Scrub radishes and trim off the stem end and tip. You may peel radishes or leave the skin intact. The skin is responsible for much of the pungency, so the black radish is most often peeled, but the red globe and white icicle radishes are rarely hot enough to warrant peeling. Small radishes can be served whole or chopped; black radishes and daikons are usually cut or grated. The most common uses for radishes are as a garnish or as an ingredient in a green salad.
Radishes are not recommended for preserving, including freezing, because of their high water content.
12 radishes = 1 cup sliced
- Get FRESH! A guide for choosing, storing and preparing fresh Michigan fruits and vegetables, Michigan State University Extension.
- How Much Should I Buy? Michigan State University Extension.
- Centers for Disease Control – Fruit and Vegetable of the Month Web site:
Prepared by: Rita Klavinski, MSU Extension educator