To use all functions of this page, please activate cookies in your browser.
With an accout for my.chemeurope.com you can always see everything at a glance – and you can configure your own website and individual newsletter.
- My watch list
- My saved searches
- My saved topics
- My newsletter
The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family that was domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world, and in addition to their use as a food, radishes have uses as an alternative treatment for a variety of medial conditions, and the seeds can be used as a biofuel. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time.
Additional recommended knowledge
Although the radish was a well-established crop in Hellenistic and Roman times, which leads to the assumption that it was brought into cultivation at an earlier time, Zohary and Hopf note that "there are almost no archeological records available" to help determine its earlier history and domestication. Wild forms of the radish and its relatives the mustards and turnip can be found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting that their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However Zohary and Hopf conclude, "Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations."
Summer radishes mature rapidly, with many varieties germinating in 3-7 days, and reaching maturity in three to four weeks. A common garden crop in the U.S., the fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens. Harvesting periods can be extended through repeated plantings, spaced a week or two apart.
Radishes grow best in full sun and fertile, acidic to neutral soil. They are in season from April to as late as October in the northern hemisphere. As with other root crops, tilling the soil helps the roots grow. Most soil types will work, though sandy loams are particularly good for winter and spring crops, while soils that form a hard crust can impair growth. The depth at which seeds are planted affects the size of the root, from 1 cm deep recommended for small radishes to 4 cm for large radishes.
Broadly speaking, radishes can be categorized into four main types (summer, fall, winter, and spring) and a variety of shapes, colours, and sizes, such as black or multi-coloured radishes, with round or elongated roots that can grow longer than a parsnip.
Spring or summer radishes
Sometimes referred to as European radishes, or as spring radishes if they're typically planted in cooler weather, summer radishes are generally small and have a relatively short 3-4 week cultivation time.
Black Spanish or Black Spanish Round are occur in both round and elongated forms, and is sometimes simply called the black radish or known by the French Gros Noir d'Hiver. It dates in Europe to 1548, and was a common garden variety in England and France the early 19th century. It has a rough black skin with hot-flavored white flesh, is round or irregularly pear shaped, and grows to around 10cm in diameter.
Daikon refers to a wide variety of winter radishes from east Asia. While the Japanese name daikon has been adopted in English, it is also sometimes called the Japanese radish, Chinese radish, or Oriental radish. Daikon commonly have elongated white roots, although many varieties of daikon exist. One well known variety is April Cross, with smooth white roots. The New York Times describes Masato Red and Masato Green varieties as extremely long, well suited for fall planting and winter storage. The Sakurajima daikon is a hot flavored variety which is typically grown to around 10 kg when harvested, but which has grown as heavy as 30 kg when left in the ground.
Seed pod varieties
The seeds of radishes grow in pods, following flowering that happens when left to grow past their normal harvesting period. The seeds are edible, and are sometimes used as a crunchy, spicy addition to salads. Some varieties are grown specifically for their seeds or seed pods, rather than their roots. The Rat-tailed radish, an old European variety, has long, thin, curly pods. In the 17th century, the pods were often pickled and served with meat. The München Bier variety supplies spicy seeds that are sometimes served raw as an accompaniment to beer in Germany.
Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. One cup of sliced red radish bulbs provides approximately 20 Calories or less, coming largely from carbohydrates, making radishes, relative to their size, a very filling food for their caloric value.
The most popular part for eating is the napiform taproot, although the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The skin comes in a variety of colours. Most commonly known is the round, red-skinned variety but other varieties may have a pink, white or gray-black skin, and there is a yellow-skinned variety.
The bulb of the radish is usually eaten raw, but tougher specimens can be steamed. The raw flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery flavor, caused by chewing glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase in the radish, that, when brought together form allyl isothiocyanates , also present in mustard, horseradish and wasabi.
Radishes are suggested as an alternative treatment for a variety of ailments including whooping cough, cancer, coughs, gastric discomfort, liver problems, constipation, dyspepsia, gallbladder problems, arthritis, gallstones, kidney stones and intestinal parasites.
The seeds of the Raphanus sativus species can be pressed to extract seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48% oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption the oil has promise as a source of biofuel. The oilseed radish grows well in cool climates.
Radishes in popular culture
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Radish". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|