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Zlata radishes are a small to medium-sized varietal, averaging 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter, and have a uniform round to oval shape with a single, elongated fleshy taproot. The radish’s skin is thin, semi-smooth with some texture, and taut, ranging in color from yellow, tan, to golden-brown. Underneath the surface, the white flesh is firm, dense, aqueous, and crisp with a crunchy, snap-like consistency. Zlata radishes have a mild, sweet, subtly earthy, and peppery flavor. The variety is said to be milder than other garden radish varieties but still has some pungent nuances without an overpowering nature. In addition to the roots, Zlata radishes produce edible green leaves attached to fibrous stalks that reach 10 to 15 centimeters in height. The textured, dark green leaves are crisp with a grassy, vegetal, and piquant taste.
Zlata radishes are available in the spring through early fall.
Zlata radishes, botanically classified as Raphanus sativus, are an Eastern European variety belonging to the Brassicaceae family. The small radishes are an early-maturing cultivar, ready for harvest 34 to 38 days after sowing, and are a specialty radish primarily grown in home gardens. Zlata radishes are a type of yellow radish created from a mutation of red radishes naturally losing a pigment gene. The resulting radishes showcased yellow to golden-brown hues, developing a new sector of radish cultivation for farms and home gardens. The name Zlata is derived from a Slavic word meaning “gold,” a descriptor of the radish’s flesh coloring, and the radishes are also known as Golden Garden radishes and Zlata Summer radishes. Zlata radishes are favored for their fast-growing, productive nature, mild flavor, and resistance to bolting. The radishes are not commercially cultivated and are offered through select farms as a seasonal variety suitable for fresh and cooked preparations.
Zlata radishes are a source of fiber to regulate the digestive tract, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation. The radishes also provide calcium to protect bones and teeth, magnesium to support optimal nerve functioning, and other nutrients, including folate, iron, manganese, zinc, and vitamin B6. Radish greens provide vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning and are rich in other vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Zlata radishes have a mild, sweet, and peppery flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The small radishes can be washed and consumed straight out of hand or sliced to showcase their coloring, displayed on appetizer platters with dips and soft cheeses. Zlata radishes can also be tossed into green salads, shredded into slaws, stuffed into sandwiches, or used as a fresh topping over tacos. The brightly colored radishes are popularly carved and served as an edible garnish, incorporated into fresh spring rolls, wrapped in prosciutto, or sliced over salted buttered toast. In Czechoslovakia, yellow radishes such as Zlata are sometimes shredded into a softened cream cheese spread with butter, chives, and salt. This spread is often served as a dip for crudité plates or topping for crackers or toast. The golden radishes are also commonly mixed into a cucumber and radish salad throughout Eastern Europe served with a creamy sauce and fresh herbs. Zlata radishes can withstand heat and are typically roasted, sauteed, or braised to create a soft texture. The roots can be cooked into egg-based dishes, roasted with other vegetables as a side dish, or combined into casseroles as a savory bite. They can also be pickled for extended use. Beyond the roots, Zlata radish greens are edible and can be used in any recipe calling for standard radish leaves. The leaves have a peppery, grassy taste, used raw in salads, lightly sauteed and stirred into soups, or served as a side dish. The greens can also be blended into pesto or hummus. Zlata radishes pair well with meats including beef, pork, and poultry, eggs, herbs such as dill, thyme, parsley, and tarragon, potatoes, cucumbers, sour cream, and onions. Whole, unwashed Zlata radishes will keep 1 to 2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
In Russia, yellow radish varieties such as Zlata radishes are incorporated into a summer soup known as okroshka. The chilled dish is comprised of a soup base of sour cream and kvass combined with finely chopped vegetables, herbs, and meat. Kvass is a fermented beverage made from rye bread. The dried bread is soaked in water, combined with yeast, and is left to ferment. This natural fermentation creates carbonation, giving the beverage its distinct sour flavor. Kvass is a traditional drink of Russia and was historically consumed as an energizing refreshment on hot days in place of water. There were also vendors who sold glasses of kvass in neighborhoods and along city streets from traveling carts. With its rich history within Russia, kvass eventually made its way into culinary dishes, specifically okroshka. The name okroshka is derived from “kroshit,” meaning “to crumble,” and is a descriptor of the finely chopped ingredients in the soup. Russian legends trace the soup's creation to barge haulers, as the workers would carry dried fish and kvass for their lunches. The fish was soaked in the kvass, but the ship workers grew tired of the same flavor, eventually adding vegetables for variety and better nutrition. While this tale has not been confirmed, okroshka spread across Russia and became a staple summer soup. Radishes are one of the most common ingredients in okroshka, favored for their crisp, peppery bite, and many types of radishes are used, depending on the desired flavor. Okroshka has become so widespread in the present day that a special kind of kvass is commercially made for okroshka, a fermented mixture including horseradish for complexity and added spice.
Zlata radishes are believed to be native to Eastern Europe and are a type of yellow radish. While much of the variety’s history is unknown, experts discovered records of yellow radishes in the early 1700s and theorized that the golden roots developed from a mutation of red radishes. This mutation caused the radishes to miss a gene that produces the typical red coloring, leading them to create golden yellow hues. Their flavor, however, paled in comparison to red radishes, and yellow radishes were mostly unknown until the 19th century. Yellow radish varieties were introduced into the United States during the 1800s and were favored home garden varieties for their unusual coloring, sweet flavor, and heat tolerance. Today Zlata radishes are a rare heirloom variety only grown through specialty farms and radish enthusiasts. The variety is sold fresh through markets in Europe, specifically Turkey, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Russia, the United States, and Australia. In seed form, it is offered through online retailers worldwide.
Recipes that include Zlata Radishes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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