Black radish is a root vegetable and is a variety of winter radish. The root of the vegetable is edible and it has a black skin and white flesh. It’s known for its harsh flavor which is the plants natural pest repellant. It’s mostly bigger and has more eatable flesh than spring radish.
In the past it has had many medicinal uses in a variety of different cultures, and now it’s mostly considered to be a part of a healthy diet and is usually eaten in a soup or a salad.
- Radishes are first cultivated in China
- Radish and Wasabi are a part of the same family
- Their scientific name means quickly appearing because they grow so fast.
The green parts of the plant, meaning the leafs on the top, should be fresh, bright green, and perky. If there are yellow or brown parts you’re too late for that one. The body of the plant should be firm; in fact, it should be as hard as a rock if the plant is fresh.
The bulb of the radish grows underground so it can be damaged by insects. Make sure you inspect it and check if there’s any damage.
Production & Farming in Texas
Radishes come in red and white varieties and in Texas you can mostly find: Champion, Cherry Belle, Early Scarlet, and Early Scarlet Globe for red varieties and Chinese White Winter, Summer Cross and White Icicle for the white ones.
They are a root plant so the structure of the soil means a lot when you choose where to start your garden. You’ll need well-drained soil that loose enough to allow the roots to expand. Before planting it’s best to remove trash, large sticks, and rocks.
During the season, the plants are cared for by scratching the soil with a rake or another hand tool. The plants should also be watered weekly unless there’s heavy rain. The radishes should also be thinned meaning that the leafs need to be pruned when the roots start to expand.
This is usually the first plant to work on in spring (basically as soon as the soil is soft enough to dig) and the first one to harvest. The harvesting is done by pulling the plant out of the ground and cutting of the top and the small roots (these could later be used for composting.)
Less pesticides are used on radishes because they are a root plant and their flavor is a byproduct of the natural protection system that the plant has developed over its evolution. It’s still better to purchase from a certified organic farmer.
The domestication of this plant isn’t yet understood, even though it’s know that it originates from China. There are depictions of radish on tombs in ancient Egypt. There are mentions of it being used in the middle ages in Europe.
The renewed popularity of the Black Radish came in the 20th century with new emphasis on healthy diet. Since they are easy to grow, they are pretty much everywhere in the US. They require soft soil and some shade meaning that you can even grow them in home gardens.
How radishes are packed depends on are they dispatched with leafs or without them. If there are leafs the radishes are packed in bunches of 10 to 20 per unit of packaging. Those that come with leafs are also packed by a plastic film and those without them are packed in bags.
In the US it’s most common to use plastic bags even though the public is now becoming aware of the problems that come with this type of packing.
There are tons of ways to eat a radish and you should feel free to experiment in order to make the vegetable more interesting. You can start by serving them raw, just add a bit of butter to add flavor and make them easier to eat.
Pickling the radish is common in Japan and China and this is a great way to eat them because the last for a long time and you can experiment with adding them as a salad to variety of different meals and dishes.
Roasting is another common option because it turns a relativity boring vegetable into an exciting meal. The radishes will get mellow and they will pick up some of the taste of the ingredients you’ve added to the pan for the roast.
There are a few ways to store radish and it depends on when you plan to use them again. If you didn’t cut of the roots of the radishes, they can be stored by keeping them in bowl of clean water for about 3 days.
If you decide to cut off the leaves and the roots of the radish before storing, you can keep them in a plastic bag and in the cold part of your freezer, for a bit longer that as long as they are not wet.
In the end, you can put the radishes in the canning jar which is the way to keep them the longest. They can be kept up to 8 days if you store them this way.
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to radishes are salads, but there are other ways to cook them as well and you should explore the black radish for all that it can be. In both Chinese and Japanese cooking, it’s common to braise the radish. That’s because radish is so good at picking up the flavor of the vegetables around them. The process will also make them meaty and juicy.,
Grilling is also a similar concept and it can be done with any type of grill and thus add a bit of fresh taste to an otherwise common meal. They also add a vibrant color and make the meal more fun.
Black radishes carry higher concentrations of glucosinolates compounds than its white variants. Glucoraphanin is the predominant glucosinolate found in almost all parts of the radish plant.
Glucoraphanin is converted into sulforaphane by hydrolysis enzymatic reaction which characteristically gives punchingly pungent flavor to it.
Research studies suggest that glucosinalates in the Brassica family vegetables offer anti-viral, immune-boosting, anti-cancer properties.
Fresh black radish roots are an average sources of vitamin-C (15 mg or 25% of DA per 100 g). Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It boost immunity, and helps in scavenging inflammatory free-radicals.
Radish, being a member of cruciferous vegetables, carry other phytonutrients such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which are detoxifying agents. Experimental studies suggested that anti-estrogenic activities of I3C and DIM (di-indole methane) might help reduce the risk of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and endometrium.
When Are Black Spanish Radish in Season in Texas?
To find out when Black Spanish Radish are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.