Radishes | CUESA

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Purple, white, red, and black - radishes come in many shapes and sizes. As a member of the Brassicaceae family (along with cabbage and cauliflower), the radish is an edible root plant which was originally domesticated in Europe. The latin name for the vegetable comes from the word “radix,” meaning “root.” And the Greek name for its genus is “Raphanus,” which translates to “quickly appearing,” referring to the plant’s quick germination cycle. Due to its rapid maturation (many varieties are ready for harvest in a matter of weeks), the radish is a popular plant for children’s gardens. They grow best in the sunlight and sandy soils, and like other root crops, they thrive in soil that has been tilled. However, radishes are often used in untilled pastures to reverse the effects of compaction.

While the taproot of the radish is the most popular part for cooking, but the rest of the plant (leaves and stem) can be eaten as well and are often prepared like other leafy greens. Radish varieties are broken down by season—winter, spring, summer, and fall. The spring and summer varieties are generally smaller and have a three- to four-week cultivation cycle. They include the white-tipped French Breakfast radish and the Easter Egg radish, which comes in several different colors. Winter and fall radishes include the spicier, rough-skinned black radish as well as daikon, which is commonly used in Asian cuisine.

In Season

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Recipes with Radishes

Wintery Spring Rolls

101cookbooks.com by Heidi Swanson

Coconut curry

Fall Vegetable Coconut Curry with Fresh Herbs and Fried Shallots

Grace Nguyen, Asian Box

Halibut Crudo

Suzanne Drexhage, Bartavelle

Shrimp Dumplings and Vegetable Miso Soup

Yu Min Lin, The Sea at Alexander’s Steakhouse

Articles about Radishes

December 14, 2007

Join the Rooting Section

A walk through the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in December dispels any belief that “there are no fresh vegetables during the winter.” Vendor after vendor offers baskets brimming with ruby red beets, husky carrots and plump turnips.

December 01, 2006

Cruciferous Crops

Lucky for us, one of the most cold-tolerant plant families encompasses more vegetables than any other.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »