Table of content A-Z




Botanical name: Raphanus sativus



Origin, areas of cultivation


The radish probably stems from the Near East. It is among the oldest cultivated plants and was eaten in ancient Egypt, and later by the Chinese, the Greeks and the Romans. The radish was introduced to Europe by the Romans. Radishes are eaten today above all in East Asia, China, Japan and Korea.




Radishes can be purchased the year round, but they are most abundant from May to October. Domestic produce is sold from July to October.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Radishes have a long, cylindrical, sometimes tapered shape, but can also be round. They are white, pink, red, purple, red-brown, or black. The skin is more or less thick, and the flesh is always white. Radishes have a pleasantly sharp taste. In addition to numerous European varieties, such as the black winter radish (Raphanus sativus var. niger), there is the Japanese radish, also known as the daikon radish (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus). This is larger and broader than the European radish and is meanwhile available everywhere in Germany. It is not as sharp and keeps longer than the European radish.




Radishes contain glucosinolates, which are secondary plant substances. When they are comminuted, e.g., by chewing or grating, mustard oils are formed, which are responsible for the sharp taste. Mustard oils most likely have an antibiotic effect; for this reason the radish is recommended as a home remedy for colds.

100 g contain:



Radish, fresh

Energy (kcal)


Water (g)


Protein (g)


Fat (g)


Carbohydrates (g)


Fiber (g)


Vitamin C (mg)


Vitamin A (RE) (µg)


Folic acid (µg)


Potassium (mg)


Sodium (mg)


Calcium (mg)


Magnesium (mg)


Iron (mg)



Harmful substances


The nitrate content in radishes can be very high, at 1000-4000 mg per kg. This is especially true of plants grown in greenhouses.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


When you buy radishes, make sure that the greens still look fresh and are not yellow or wilted. Further, the radish should be straight and have no cracks. Sometimes a radish is woody or spongy; unfortunately, this cannot be seen from the outside. If you want to be quite sure that the radish is good inside, have the merchant cut it open for you. Radishes can be stored for about 8 days if they are kept cool and moist.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Radishes are normally eaten raw. They are popular as a "beer garden" vegetable particularly in southern Germany, eaten with pretzels and veal sausages. They can also serve as a sandwich filling or be eaten as a salad. Only the black radish must be peeled; with the other varieties it suffices to clean them with a vegetable brush and then slice or chop them. A radish cut in a spiral is particularly decorative.


Radishes are seldom eaten in soups or casseroles or as a vegetable side dish. If you like your radishes not quite so sharp you can salt them first and let them sit for a while. This will draw out the juice and make them milder and more tender. Keep in mind, however, that this will reduce the positive effect of the mustard oils.




– The radish even played a part in the building of one of the wonders of the world. When the pyramids were built in ancient Egypt around 2700 b.c., the slaves refreshed themselves with a mixture of onions, garlic and radishes.
– In Schifferstadt in the Palatinate, a special day is dedicated to the radish. In May the traditional Radish Festival is celebrated there.





  This article was written by




  With the website the Fritz Terfloth Foundation of Münster offers consumers independent and competent information about plant foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. Information about the conditions for use of the texts by third parties can be found here.