Winter radishes can be mistaken for unexciting turnips, so it is often overlooked and unappreciated. But they are an eye-catching delicacy that can make any boring plate look fancy. Their pink and magenta interior make them look like a watermelon, but they do not taste like one. There are also black winter radish varieties. It is a root vegetable of the same Brassicaceae family as arugula, broccoli, turnips, and mustard, and have a fresh, peppery flavor. They are related to spring radishes with all the same nutritional attributes. (Read more here).


There are several varieties of winter radishes. “Daikon” in Japanese means “white radish.” In Japanese cuisine, they are often added to winter stews or grated using a special grater and served with pungent fish dishes. Their shape is reminiscent of a large carrot, and they can grow up to a foot long. Originating in China, the colorful watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of the daikon radish. When the watermelon radishes first arrived in America, they were named “red meat radishes,” but their name was quickly changed, perhaps for marketing reasons.

A radish grater sitting on a counter

Special Japanese daikon graters are available in any Asian grocery store.   

How to Eat Them?

Winter radishes are crunchy yet sweet and mild, with just a tiny hint of pepper. Thinly sliced on a mandolin, winter radishes taste especially delicious salted or used to scoop-up humus or any dip as a healthier alternative to chips or crackers. They can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted, or even pickled, made into a slaw, or added to soups or salads. Unlike the common radishes, winter radishes store well in the fridge and stay fresh for up to a month. They can be chopped and stored in a plastic bag or a container and used as needed. Winter radish is a gorgeous vegetable.

Very thinly sliced radish on buttered bread, lightly salted, with avocado also tastes and looks delicious.

Half an avocado sitting on a tray with an open-faced avocado and radish sandwich

There are endless ways to make a radish sandwich.

Chopped red radishes on a green tossed salad

Eye-catching winter radishes add color and crunch to any simple green salad.

Radishes on a plate, served as a side with an omelet, fruit and sprouts.

Winter radishes can accompany any dish.

Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103


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