How can I get my Red Table Radishes to "pepper up"?

I bought a beautiful bunch of red table radishes from our local green grocer two days ago. Half of the bunch were larger than a golf ball. Farmer at the register at check out told me “these have a nice kick”. That comment was music to my ears!

Unfortunately, after prepping five or six for supper, and rapaciously consuming them, I thought: “where’s the pepper hit”.

Please provide your advice on how I can coax that from the radishes I’m buying now. TY.

@RedJim, I don’t think there’s any way to increase their kick, once purchased, aside from putting pepper on them. The only other thing might be to dehydrate them to make radish chips.

If you have the room for planting some next year, I would advise that. I’m sure there are varieties that are spicier than others, but also, I’ve heard to hold the water. Keep them alive, but stress the plant. This could be old farmer lore though…maybe @bogman will chime in here.


Thank you for your reply, @Lambchop.

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RedJim, once pulled, mild radishes will stay that way unless you wet the slices and dust them, mix with “wasabi” powder (horseradish)!

Radishes fall into two categories: spring and winter. Now is the time to plant fall radishes, because if you plant those in the spring, they’ll flower and not make a big root. Chinese radishes start out very spicy and get milder in storage. These include Beauty Heart (watermelon), Green Luobo, China Rose and others.

If you want a radish with a kick, that’s planted summer-fall, it’s hard to find one more zippy than Black Spanish. Plant to harvest about frost time. There are long and round types; the round varieties store better. Most winter radishes keep in the fridge until about May! They also tend to be much larger than spring radishes. Here’s Chinese Green Luobo I grew a few years back, followed by Beauty Heart.


Most winter radishes are ready about two months after planting and will take mild frost. Harvest as the tops die down and the roots get large, 2 1/2-4 inches across.


Thank you for your insightful reply, @bogman.

I’ll bookmark your comments.

Glad to share growing info! I totally forgot about another radish group, Rat-tail radishes. There are a bunch of them, some very peppy. The young seed pods are what is eaten, not the roots. Shaped like a rat’s tail, green to purple in color, they can add a bite to salads and sandwiches. Plus, you can grow them mid summer and in rocky soil.


I was going to say the same as what’s already recommended - try different radishes. :slight_smile:

The most peppery and zingy I’ve tried are black radishes for sure! These things are borderline wasabi-like! I was eating them as a recommendation to help my sinusitis issues. They are delicious radishes regardless. They lose some of that zip when you cook them, but when they are raw and sliced thin there’s a great zing to it.


Sounds like I’m going to have to shop further afield than my local Kroger @kobuta

Yes, it’s been too long since we visited a farmer’s market, farm stand or produce outlet…

@RedJim, if you have any near to you, and you feel comfortable going, I’d recommend a stop at an Asian market, especially a Korean one. I’ve no doubt you could find some nice hot radishes there. Just an idea that popped into the head just now. Good luck in your quest.

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The Asian markets here have mild radishes, even the Korean Green topped ones are very mild. If you want some peppery, radish-like spice, maybe a bit of mustard leaf will work. By fall, there should be more selection at specialty markets.

It depends on a few factors, but I think even standard radishes should have some sharpness (“French”/icicle radishes are the mildest). FYI, the biting sharpness is released when a radish is sliced or chewed. Some enzymes are mixed together when that happens and this releases an organosulfur compound which is the mustardy sharpness you taste.

I’m a big radish eater and only black ones are sharp enough for me. It’s wasabi sharp. Radish shoots are also very sharp. Try the shoots and you won’t be disappointed.

I eat black radishes whenever possible.

The sticks again. I like black radishes with fatty foods.

From my own garden pots. I also grow red globe and multicolour ones.



Lots of people on the webz want to make their radishes milder. Just no! Eat something else.


Dropping back into this thread to comment thus:

DW put remnants of some of those sliced radishes in a Tupperware container three nights ago. Stored in the refrigerator on the shelf above the produce keeper. Just took them out to add to dinner as a go-with. I “copped” a slice to munch on (a habit I picked up as a kid) and found that this remnant peppered up in the ‘fridge! And I mean, peppered up. Food chemistry in full flower. And, I’m lovin’ it.

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RedJim, I suspect some of the radishes were either older or maturing quicker. The smaller, red globe types can vary a lot, getting zippier with age. Any time I’ve had radishes in the fridge, they get milder. Black Spanish resists this tendency better than others.

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We still have 5 or 6 radishes from the original bunch in our produce keeper. Your comment prompts me to “conduct” a more formal taste test.
– Leave a few out in the kitchen to come back to room temp;
– Slice a few up and put them back in a Tupperware keeper in the fridge…

Any way and any difference it turns out, I’ll be pleased.

Thank you for your great observations.