The radish is a root of a plant in the mustard family that was first cultivated in China, then in Egypt and Greece, where the vegetable was so highly regarded that gold replicas were made of it. In Greek and Roman times, the radish was very different; it was grown for winter storage, often weighed 50 to 100 lbs. each, and was eaten cooked or raw and seasoned with honey and vinegar.
A mild to peppery root available in colors from white to red to purple to black. Radishes range in size from 1/2 inch globes to the carrot-like 1.5 foot Daikon.
You can also find black radishes, popular in eastern Europe, which are more strongly flavored. They are popular in Asian cookery and have a very mild flavor.
Go for firm-skinned radishes, with no blemishes. If they feel soft, they are likely to be spongy inside. Any greens still attached should look fresh and perky. The bigger the radish, the less crisp its texture, so avoid larger examples.
To increase the crispness of radish, soak them in iced water for a couple of hours. Wash, then chop off the greens, if present, then slice off the root. Leave whole, slice or chop, as required.
Always prepare radishes just before using, as they loose their potency when cut. Mooli or daikon radishes can be sliced, diced or grated.