How to preserve radishes

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve radishes” and discuss the different methods of preserving radishes.

How to preserve radishes

Vegetables are important for one’s health. In a survey research of the period between 2015-2018 in the United States, among adults aged 20 and over, 95.1% claimed to consume any vegetables on a given day; 26.3% consumed dark green vegetables; 79.2% consumed red and orange vegetables; 50.3% consumed starchy vegetables; and 78.8% consumed other vegetables (1).

Radishes can be preserved by:

  • Storing under proper storage conditions
  • Refrigeration
  • Freezing
  • Dehydration
  • Pickling
  • Fermentation

Radishes can be preserved in a variety of ways. Fresh radishes store well without the need for refrigeration or freezing.

Storing under the proper conditions and refrigeration are recommended for short term storage while freezing, dehydration, pickling and fermentation allows long term storage.

Edible parts of a radish

Radish is a root vegetable and all parts of radish are available. Radish can be eaten raw in salads. Radishes can also be stir-fried or steamed. 

Radish leaves can be chopped and stir-fried or added into noodles and soups with other leaves such as kale.

The edible part of radish is mainly the root. However, the consumption of leaves and sprouts is increasing. The root is usually consumed in salads, but it can also be cooked or salted together with other vegetables. Radish roots can also be processed as dried or canned pickles, which are most commonly consumed in Asia. Leaves and sprouts are usually eaten raw as part of salads. Overall, radish is low in calories and a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and folate (2).

It is important to purchase firm, unbruised radishes with green undamaged leaves. This way both the radish and leaves can be used in numerous recipes.

How to preserve radishes without refrigeration

Radish bulbs should not be stored at room temperature because the radishes lose their fresh appearance due to shriveling, and non-processed radish bulbs stored with or without leaves at this temperature should not be stored for more than one day (4).

Freshly harvested radishes can be stored in a cool, dark, moist place for about 3 months. Radishes can be stored in damp soil inside a cardboard box in a dark place such as a cellar or a basement.

How to preserve radishes by refrigerating

Controlling storage temperature, on the other hand, is a crucial factor for maintaining physicochemical and other quality attributes of numerous fresh vegetables. In radish, physicochemical parameters that determine quality were well maintained in lower storage temperature and, therefore, a temperature of 0°C (32°F) was recommended for radish roots in order to maintain their quality for an extended storage period (3).

Preserving radishes by refrigerating them will keep them good for up to 12 weeks (5). Minimally processed and packaged radish bulbs can be stored for six days at a temperature below 5°C (40°F) (4).

Radishes can be preserved for short term use by refrigerating. To preserve radishes by refrigerating:

  • Brush off soil and dirt from the radishes but do not wash them.
  • Trim the tops of the radishes and place them inside a plastic bag.
  • Add a damp towel into the bag to retain moisture.
  • Place the bag in the fridge until needed.

Washed and trimmed radishes can also be refrigerated immersed in a jar of clean water. The jar must be sealed and refrigerated until needed.

How to preserve radishes by freezing

Freezing is the best method to preserve radishes for the long term with the least changes to flavor and texture. Radishes can be blanched and then frozen for up to 6-12 months.

How to preserve radishes by dehydrating

Drying as one of the ancient food preservation methods can inhibit microbial reproduction and enzyme activity by reducing the moisture content of materials, thus reducing the deterioration of physical and chemical properties during storage, so as to prolong the shelf life and maintain the quality of products (6).

Washed, cleaned and sliced radishes can be dehydrated in a food dehydrator until they are crispy. Salt and spices such as cinnamon and chili powder can be added to enhance the flavor. Dehydrated radishes must be stored in an airtight container.

Radishes leaves can be preserved by dehydration as well. Dehydrated and powdered radish leaves can be added to soups and smoothies. To make radish leaf powder:

  • Wash, clean and spin or blot dry the radish leaves.
  • Dehydrate the leaves using a low heat setting until the leaves are crispy.
  • Grind the leaves in a food processor until they form a fine powder. 
  • Transfer the powder into an airtight container.
  • Seal, label and store the container in a cool, dark place.

Use the dehydrated radishes and radish leaf powder within a year for the best flavor and texture.

More instructions on dehydrating radishes can be found here.

How to preserve radishes by pickling

Many popular kinds of pickles are known as fresh pack or quick process pickles.Fresh pack pickles are not fermented.Instead,a hot solution of vinegar and salt (and sometimes sugar) is prepared and poured over the pickles before they are processed. Pickles prepared in this way include fresh pack dill pickles, bread-and-butter pickles,and beet pickles (7).

Radishes can be pickled in a solution of vinegar, salt, sugar and spices. Pickled radishes can be stored for about 4 months. After being opened, they must be refrigerated and used within a couple of weeks. 

To pickle radishes:

  • Clean, wash and trim off their leaves and roots.
  • Slice the radishes into thin pieces and place them inside a sterilized jar.
  • Make a pickling liquid by heating together vinegar, spices, salt and sugar.
  • Pour the pickling liquid over the radishes.
  • Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place.

The pickled radishes will be ready for consumption in about 3 days.

There are various recipes for pickling radishes and a choice of spices can be used. This recipe provides a complete pickling method along with the ingredients.

How to preserve radishes by fermentation

Fermented pickles — also called crock pickles — are produced by curing fruit rind or vegetables in a salt brine for several weeks. During this treatment, salt-tolerant bacteria convert carbohydrates (sugars) in the vegetables into lactic acid by a process known as fermentation. Lactic acid preserves the pickles and gives them their characteristic tangy flavor. The salt concentration is very important in this process,and is necessary to encourage growth of the right types of bacteria (7).

Fermenting radishes with garlic and salt preserves them for about 2 months. To ferment radishes:

  • Clean, wash and trim off their leaves and roots.
  • Slice the radishes into thin pieces and place them inside a sterilized jar along with some cloves of garlic.
  • Make a brine solution by mixing salt in water.
  • Add the brine solution to the jar to cover all the radishes.
  • Cover with an airlock lid or which allows the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to escape. You can also burp the jar by removing the lid every day if an air-lock lid is not available.
  • Allow the radishes to ferment for about a week.

After opening fermented radishes, always store them in a refrigerator.

A detailed method of fermentation of radishes can be found here.

Other FAQs about Radish that you may be interested in.

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Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve radishes”. We discussed the different methods of preserving radishes, such as refrigerating, freezing, dehydration, pickling and fermentation.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

  1. Ansai, Nicholas, and Edwina A. Wambogo. Fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in the United States, 2015–2018. 2021. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.
  2. Gamba, Magda, et al. Nutritional and phytochemical characterization of radish (Raphanus sativus): A systematic review. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2021,113, 205-218.
  3. Chandra, Dulal, et al. Effects of packaging on shelf life and postharvest qualities of radish roots during storage at low temperature for an extended period. J Food Qual, 2018.  
  4. Ayub, Ricardo Antonio, Bruna Spinardi, and Mariane Gioppo. Storage and fresh cut radish. Acta Scientiarum. Agronomy, 2013, 35, 241-245.
  5. Radish. University of Illinois.
  6. Jiang, Dalong, Congcong Li, and Zhian Zheng. Study on Drying Control Strategy of White Radish Slice Based on Monitoring Medium Relative Humidity. Foods, 2022, 11, 1197.  
  7. Ingham, Barbara H. Homemade pickles & relishes. University of Wisconsin–Extension, Cooperative Extension, 2008.