Black radishes are an ancient, rare winter heirloom cultivar that was once one of the most widely cultivated varieties in Europe. Black radishes provided vital nutrients during the barren winter months of the Middle Ages, and Europeans heavily relied on the root’s cold tolerance and extended storage capabilities as a filling food source.
Black radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and provide potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, and B. The roots also contain glucosinolate, a phytonutrient that can boost digestion and liver detoxification. In traditional medicines of Europe and Asia, Black radishes have long been used to stimulate bile function and improve the health of the gallbladder.
Though they are encased in a black to dark brown skin that is thick, rough, and coarse, underneath the surface the flesh is bright white, firm, crisp, and moist with a dense consistency. Black radishes are known for bearing an earthy, spicy, bitter, and pungent flavor when raw and have a sharper taste than other radish varieties. When cooked, the crunchy flesh softens, and the flavor mellows, developing subtly sweet peppery undertones.