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The Instacart guide to radishes

About radishes

The radish was first domesticated in Asia before Roman times as an edible root vegetable. Today, radishes are grown and eaten globally and are mostly consumed raw as a crunchy, flavorful addition to salads. Radish vary in flavor, size, and color. The radish's sharp taste is due to the chemical compounds it produces, including myrosinase, isothiocyanate, and glucosinolate.

Radishes germinate quickly, mature within a month, and suffer from very few diseases and pests, making them a favorite for home gardeners. Historically, the radish was used as a cover crop in the winter months, or as a forage crop. Some radishes are grown for their oil, others for their seeds, and still others for sprouting. 

Scientists have little data about where and when the radish was first domesticated or about its origins in the wild. In Southeast Asia, botanists have located what they believe to be the only region with wild forms of radish. India, Central Asia, and China have areas where different radishes appear to have been cultivated. 

The radish appears first in historical records in the 3rd century BC. By the 1st century AD, Roman and Greek accounts provide more details regarding the cultivation of radishes. The radish was one of the first European crops introduced to the Americas, likely because of its ease of cultivation. 

The radish grows a swollen, edible root that can appear rounded, cylindrical, or tapering. The root's color can be white, pink, purple, yellow, red, or greenish-black, but all have white flesh. Anthocyanins provide color to the root skin. The roots can grow anywhere from 1-inch in diameter in the smaller, rounder varieties of garlic. Longer radishes can grow 3 inches and present as a slender tube. Longer oriental root forms of radish can grow up to 2 feet long; this includes Daikon and Mooli radishes.

When ripe, radish flesh has a crisp texture and mild sweetness. The flavor turns bitter and harsh if left in the ground too long. Above ground, the radish sprouts long foliage, with rosette leaves in a lyrate shape. It has white flowers and produces a small pod fruit that can be eaten when young.

Radishes grow quickly as an annual, cool-season crop. It takes only a few days for seeds to germinate, and optimal growing temperatures are between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, crops mature in about one month, but colder weather can delay this by up to another month. Full sunlight and sandy soil make for the best radish crops. Radish size correlates to the depth the seeds are planted in the earth.

Radishes Near Me

Buy your favorite radishes online with Instacart. Order daikon radish, horseradish, round radish, and more from local and national retailers near you and enjoy on-demand, contactless delivery or pickup within 2 hours.

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FAQs About Radishes

Yes, radishes have good nutritional value. They are a good source of Vitamin C and contain 66 kilojoules of energy. Vitamin C has proven to improve bone, skin, and cartilage health, as well as provide a boost to your immune system. Radishes also contain various other vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamin B6. Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc are also found in radishes, all of which are part of a healthy diet.

The radish's crisp flesh has a pungent, peppery flavor. They are most commonly sliced and eaten raw in salads, or they are used for dipping. Radishes can be cooked in stews or sauteed in sauces or stir fry. You can eat the entire plant, from leaf to seed. Cooks add the leaves to salads and garnish dishes with them. You can chop the stems and add them to your favorite stir-fry. Even their seeds can be sprouted and eaten raw.

Yes. Like any vegetable that grows in the ground, dirt will be present. Some farmers may use chemicals to treat infections and insects, and there's always the chance of other contaminants reaching the soil around the radish. A gentle scrub in cool water will remove the dirt and other substances.
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