Mardi Gras Radish
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Mardi Gras radishes is a mix of several radish varieties with varying flavors and sharpness. The small roots are harvested when they are still young and petite, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and maintain a globular shape with a single, elongated taproot. The root’s skin is semi-smooth, firm, and dense, found in vibrant shades of white, gold, purple, and black. Underneath the surface, the flesh is white, crunchy, and succulent with a snap-like consistency. Mardi Gras radishes range in flavor from mild, earthy, to peppery, with the white and gold varieties containing a semi-sweet, mild flavor and the black and purple radishes bearing a sharper, spicier bite. When raw, the radishes have a crisp flesh, and when cooked, the flesh softens, developing mellow, peppery undertones.
Mardi Gras radishes are available year-round, with a peak season in the spring through early fall.
Mardi Gras radishes, botanically classified as Raphanus sativus, are a specialty blend belonging to the Brassicaceae family. The radish mix incorporates seeds of white, purple, black, and gold roots, and each radish will vary in flavor and degree of spiciness. Mardi Gras radishes are a type of table or spring radish, favored for their fast-growing nature, maturing in 21 to 30 days. Spring radishes are some of the most popular varieties found in commercial markets, and this radish blend can also be planted in stages in home gardens for successive harvests throughout the season. Mardi Gras radishes are easy-to-grow and versatile, utilized raw or cooked in culinary preparations, and offer increased visual appeal with their multi-colored nature. The roots also provide varying flavors as they are different types of radishes, contributing a unique depth to dishes.
Mardi Gras radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect the body against free radical damage. The roots also contain fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, calcium and phosphorus to protect bones and teeth, and other minerals, including copper, manganese, and magnesium. In addition to the roots, Mardi Gras radish greens provide vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Mardi Gras radishes have mild to peppery flavors well suited for raw and cooked preparations. When raw, the roots can be served whole on appetizer platters, sliced and topped with spreads and dips, or thinly sliced and served with cheese, softened butter, or salt. The fresh radishes can also be layered into sandwiches, placed on top of crackers or bread, tossed into salads, or chopped and used as a taco, tostada, or enchilada topping. In addition to raw preparations, Mardi Gras radishes can be roasted, sauteed, stir-fried, or braised. When cooked, Mardi Gras radishes can be tossed into soups, coated with savory sauces, served on kabobs, baked into creamy casseroles, or sliced, roasted, and finished with lemon juice, olive oil, or cheese. The radishes can also be pickled as a tangy condiment, and the greens can be lightly sauteed or stir-fried as a side dish. Mardi Gras radishes pair well with cheeses such as Havarti, cheddar, and ricotta, pesto, miso, sesame, cress, arugula, cucumber, bell pepper, Dijon mustard, and sour cream. The roots should be separated from the greens and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Mardi Gras radishes are favored by home gardeners for their easy-to-grow nature, small space requirement, bright colors, and fresh flavor. When sown, it is unknown what radish colors will appear until the roots are harvested, providing an element of delight and surprise. Mardi Gras radishes are similar to other colorful mixes, including Easter egg radishes, and are sold as bouquet-type bundles. Once grown and harvested, specialty growers bundle the mixed colors together in a bouquet, typically tied with a string that can then be packed for distribution or sold at a local farmer’s market. Mixed radish bouquets date back to the vegetable markets of France as early as the 1800s, where growers would bundle together whatever colors they had available at the time to sell as an aesthetically pleasing radish mix.
Mardi Gras radishes are sold in a mix pack through online seed retailers such as Burpee Seeds. The radish mix is comprised of several different varieties of round spring radishes, and these petite roots were developed in Europe from ancient radishes beginning in the 16th century. Radishes have continued to be selectively bred for improved characteristics, including the varieties used in the Mardi Gras mix, and are common in home gardens and commercial markets. Today, Mardi Gras radishes can be found in bundles through specialty distributors and farmer’s markets or grown from seed in home gardens.
Recipes that include Mardi Gras Radish. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Food Network||Spring Radish Salad|
|Better Homes & Gardens||Hasselback Radishes|
|Rhubarbarians||Honey Butter Roasted Radishes With Lemon and Thyme|
|Real Simple||Miso Roasted Radishes|