An Easter Egg radish is a brightly colored spring radish which is packed with flavor, despite the small size. The peppery radish may eaten plain, included in salads, or grated onto a range of dishes. Many grocers stock Easter Egg radishes in the late spring and sometimes in the early fall as well, and they can also be found at a farmers' market. Radishes are also very easy to grow, and they are a fun beginner gardening project.
Radishes are root vegetables related to turnips and horseradish. Like horseradish, radishes have a hot, peppery flavor, and they are typically used as a condiment. There are two types of radishes: spring radishes and winter radishes. An Easter Egg radish is the quintessential spring radish, planted in the spring and harvested early so that the size is kept small, resulting in tender, flavorful flesh. Winter radishes like daikon are planted later, and allowed to mature into much larger vegetables.
The name “Easter Egg radish” is a reference to their globe-like shape and bright color. The radishes can come in white, pink, red, and sometimes even purple, and they do start to look rather like Easter eggs poking up out of the ground as they mature. To grow this radish, acquire seeds from a garden store and sow them after the last risk of frost, typically in the late spring. Water the seeds periodically, thin the starts if they get too dense, and harvest in around a month. In temperate climates, the radishes can be grown into the summer and through the early fall as well, and some gardeners like to stagger plantings so that they have a steady supply.
Fresh radishes can be kept under refrigeration for approximately one week. In the store, radishes should be plump and firm with no signs of wrinkling or soft spots. They may be loose, or packaged in bunches with their greens attached. Radish greens are also perfectly edible, and they can be used in salads and other dishes to add a fresh, peppery flavor.
A classic way to eat an Easter Egg radish is plain with a sprinkling of salt. The colorful root vegetables may also be served on appetizer plates, sometimes cut into fanciful shapes like roses. Typically, these radishes are eaten raw, since they have a crunchy texture when uncooked. Especially young radishes will also have a hint of sweetness in addition to the pepper.