I’m such a dope. I’ve spent 32 years on this planet thinking there’s a thing called a radish, and it’s a radish, and it tastes like radish, and if you want a radish, get a radish, because it’s a radish.
Turns out, there are varieties of radishes. Who knew? I learned this not from a book or a website or a vegetable guru who holds court in a temple atop a mountain, but from strolling the produce section at Whole Foods.
A few weeks ago, my eyeballs grew 20 times their size and burst forth from their sockets, cartoon-style, when I saw Easter Egg Radishes at the store. Holy crap, I thought, radishes come in other colors? My radish worldview instantly expanded from quite narrow to wide open in a matter of seconds (and just weeks after finding other oddly-colored veggies, like orange cauliflower and purple and white carrots).
Little did I know that the radish world wasn’t finished surprising me just yet. I’ve now had the regular red radishes, as well as pink radishes, purple radishes, and white radishes… and now there’s a new color to add to the list, because the last time I was at Whole Foods, I bought…
They are the blackest vegetable I’ve ever seen. They’re slightly bigger than red radishes. I gave them a wash and cut off the ends, like I do with every radish. I was extremely curious what color the flesh was… any guesses?
Ta-da…. It’s white!
I trimmed off a slice so I could sample it:
I put it in my mouth, chewed twice, and promptly spit in out into the sink. Gross. While it has the unmistakable radish flavor, it’s woody and gritty and disgusting. A quick search on the interwebs turned up a few websites that say you should treat black radishes like you would turnips (so, um, they have to be cooked), although I did stumble upon a few recipes that call for it raw and grated, along with carrots and cucumbers, in a slaw-type dish. Have any of you cooked with black radishes before? What did you make?
More online research is definitely needed before I figure out the fate of my black radishes, but I don’t have time for it right now, because…
…I found yet another radish variety. This time, it’s not the color that’s different, it’s the shape. These guys are called FRENCH RADISHES!
I found them at Whole Foods too, and each French radish was wearing its own little beret, and enjoying a mime performance over by the croissants.
They’re the same red color as standard radishes, but they’re more cylindrical than bulb-like – they remind me of bullets. So after I separated them from the greens, I pulled out the leftover bullets from my February firing range excursion, so I could illustrate the comparison:
I can’t tell which are the bullets, and which are the radishes, can you?
Once I trimmed off the ends, I realized that French radishes are easily stackable:
FIVE HIGH! Just remember, ladies and gentlemen, when you see a radish-stacking challenge on Minute to Win It, that you saw it here first.
I popped an entire radish in my mouth, and it tasted just like a standard radish, although perhaps with slightly less radish flavor – which isn’t a bad thing, because a radish is a potent little sucker.
Before I go, I have one more picture to share. My friend Alix, knowing my interest in oddly-colored vegetables, sent me this picture today while she was grocery shopping: purple, green and orange baby cauliflowers, all available for purchase at the Ralph’s near her house:
Have you seen any oddly-colored vegetables in your neighborhood supermarket? Email me pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Keep it up, David!