Dating back in Europe to pre-roman times, the Raphanus Sativus – more commonly know as the radish – is best known for its distinct peppery flavour and crisp, watery texture. Although available in a wider variety of colours and flavours, the most common radish to Britain is the Cherry Belle. With its blushing fuchsia exterior and bright white interior, these radishes add colour and vibrancy to salads and garnishes.
Radishes are particularly easy to grow; with a quick germination time and even speedier growth period, growers can expect a decent yield within 4 weeks of plantation. Smaller radishes tend to be milder with a much crisper texture and tend to be eaten raw, although they make for a great addition to stir-fries. Not only low in calories, radishes offer a healthy dose of folic acid, potassium and vitamin B6.
Seasonal period: Mid-April to June
Flavour friends: Radishes’ vibrancy is enhanced with the addition of citrus – simply drizzled over raw radishes or when roasted, lemon offers another dimension of flavour. When roasting radishes, thyme is great for bringing out their earthiness making them the perfect partner to other sweet root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips.
Buying, storing and preparing: Always look for bunches of radishes that are uniformly shaped and vibrant in colour. Not too oversized, the bulbs must feel firm to ensure they are crisp rather than spongey in texture. Remove all leaves before storing in the fridge. Wrap in damp kitchen roll to help them to maintain their moisture and simply wash and slice before using. Consume within one week.
Cooking: Radishes are mostly eaten raw – sit in ice-cold water an hour before using to ensure they are crisp and full of moisture. Slice thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife and add to salads and garnishes.
Alternatively, slice and stir fry, allowing to cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
To increase their sweetness, roast for 20 to 25 minutes at 200C.
Find out a lot more about British grown radishes here, at Love Radish
Words by Helen Upshall