Radishes Delivery or Pickup
The Instacart guide to 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.
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