Field to Plate
Radishes come in many colours, shapes and sizes; from Red Globe and French Breakfast, you’ll also find Purples and possibly Easter Eggs or the giant white ‘Mooli’ or ‘Daikon’ popular in Asian cuisine. The ‘heat’ differs according to variety and colour is a useful guide. Paler versions are likely to have a peppery bite, although colour can be affected by growing conditions too. Wet years tend to be milder, while a hot dry summers will bring out the spicy ‘bite’.
French Breakfast: Distinctive cylinder shape with a white tip and excellent flavour. This traditional French variety was named French Breakfast because market porters in Paris used to eat their radishes with salt and butter as a mid-morning snack.
Purple: Their bright colour and mild flavour appeals to children, and they make a great snack.
Easter Egg: A mix of pink, purple and white varieties, usually quite mild and crisp.
Fakir: Red globe variety with an extra hot peppery flavour, (most commonly grown in Britain).
Fast-growing radishes are the first field-grown salad crop of the British growing year. Available from mid-April radishes are harvested all the way through until late October (depending on the weather).
We grow most of our British radishes on our farms in Norfolk, where we have specialised in radish crops for over 25 years. Radishes don't like too little or too much water which is why they are grown in the Norfolk Fens, where a combination of low rainfall and a light soil that retains the water make for perfect growing conditions.
Cooking & Eating
Radishes are sometimes sold with their leaves on, tied into bunches, or ready-topped in bags. The leaves can be used in salads but must be used immediately otherwise they begin to wilt. The radishes themselves should be firm and crisp, and kept in the salad drawer of your fridge where they should last for up to two weeks (always remove the leaves before storing). Radishes are usually eaten raw, on their own as snacks (delicious with a little butter and dipped into salt) or in salads and sandwiches. They can be cooked for a short time, so can be added into stir-fries for the last couple of minutes of cooking, or why not try sprinkling chopped radish onto fresh vegetable soups as a healthy alternative to croutons.
Wash gently to remove any soil. Trim off the tops and tails and slice, or cut into chunks. If eating with a dip, such as mayonnaise leave a little of the green stalk to act as a handle. For added crispness soak in iced water for an hour before use. The tops can be used in salads or cooked like other greens.