Bundle of bright fresh organic radishes with leaves on blue rustic table

Do You Have To Peel Radishes?

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Many vegetables need to be peeled before they are used, but in the case of radishes, peeling them isn’t just unnecessary — it’s also discouraged, unless you want to use the peels separately!

Do you have to peel radishes? No, radishes don’t have to be peeled before they are used. You can simply trim off the stalk and root, then slice the vegetable with the peel on. You could peel them, but then you will also diminish the appearance and flavor of the vegetable.

Read below to learn more about the dos and don’ts of peeling radishes and how to use different strategies to cut them!

To Peel Or Not To Peel?

When it comes to radishes, these root vegetables are one of the few foods that don’t need to be peeled. 

A big reason for this is that the skin also contributes to the mildly spicy, earthy, and zesty flavor of the vegetable, so peeling it may reduce its overall flavor!

It is also important to note that, unlike other vegetables, the skin doesn’t contain any compounds that would give radishes a bitter flavor, which is why it is recommended that you keep it on.

The second reason has more to do with aesthetics because the peel is what gives radish slices their iconic red rim!

The flesh of this vegetable is white, so even if you were to peel it completely, you would strip it away of all its characteristics — so much so that some might not even be able to identify the vegetable unless they taste it.

But then again, peeled radishes can be used in the same way as regular radishes — they just won’t have their iconic color and may only be slightly less flavorful. 

How To Prepare Radishes

Here’s how radishes are usually prepared!

Step 1. Washing 

Radishes grow underground and can carry dirt, debris, fertilizer, and even pesticide. This is why it is always recommended that you wash them at home before using them.

Keep in mind that these vegetables are only cleaned via pressurized air or a light brush before they are sent off to stores.

Farmers avoid washing them because the added moisture will eventually encourage the growth of bacteria and may even speed up rot.

Only wash radishes just before you use them and never store them wet:

  1. To clean the radishes, fill up a large bowl with clean water and then dunk the radishes a few times.
  2. Then use your hands to gently massage the surface of the vegetable to loosen up any stuck debris and clear out chemical residue.
  3. If the water gets cloudy or dirty, then drain and refill it.
  4. Repeat the above steps until all of the radishes have been cleaned.

We recommend that you clean each radish separately instead of haphazardly dunking a bunch! Not only will this not clean the radishes, but you may also end up splashing water all over the counter.

Step 2. Cutting

Now that you have clean radishes, it’s time to cut them

You will need a very sharp knife for this step. We recommend going with a typical chef’s knife as it will give you more control over the quality of the slices. 

Since radishes have a firm and crispy exterior, you will need to be very careful when slicing them because their rounded shape can cause the blade of the knife to slip off the surface.

Fortunately, there is a way to minimize, if not eliminate, all risks:

  1. Begin by slicing off the stem and root of the vegetable. You don’t have to cut thick slices, just create a thin slice to cut the stem off.
  2. Repeat the same step for the root — this is the closest you will get to peeling radishes!
  3. To minimize the risk of any accident, we recommend slicing a very thin slice of the vegetable from the curved side. By now, you will have 3 cut sides (stem, root, and side). The side cut will create stability and provide even more grip as you slice the radishes.
  4. Use the side-cut as a base and then simply slice the radishes from one end to the other. You can adjust the thickness of the slices as per your preference.
  5. Repeat the same steps for the rest of the radishes to get beautifully cut slices.
  6. Give the slices a final rinse using clean water to remove any leftover debris and then use them as required!

How To Peel Radishes

Even though radishes aren’t usually supposed to be peeled, you can peel them if you want to use them in artisanal and fancy ways. 

The best way to determine if you want to use peeled or unpeeled radishes depends on your needs. If you don’t want to add color to your recipe, then you should probably go with a peeled radish!

There are generally two methods for peeling radishes without wastage — the first method only requires a swivel peeler, while the second method requires a sharp paring knife and a bit of experience. 

1. Swivel Peeler Method

Swivel peelers are an excellent way to peel any type of vegetable — this tool creates thin peels instead of thicker cuts that end up in the bin.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. To use a swivel peeler, first prepare the radishes by washing them according to our guide above.
  2. When peeling radishes, you don’t have to cut off the stem and root — in fact, the curvature of the vegetable will help the peeler contour to the shape and create equal peels on every side!
  3. Grip the peeler and set it on the top of the radish at an angle. Then using a bit of pressure, gently move the peeler down to the other end until you get a thin peel. Applying too much pressure will result in thicker peels — so, avoid doing that!
  4. Reset the peeler and rotate the radish to the unpeeled side and repeat the above step. Do this until all of the radishes have been peeled. 
  5. Rinse the peeled radishes and then finish off by cutting the stem and root as you normally would. 

By the end, you will be left with a whitish vegetable that will be devoid of any color, but since you are going for that — mission successful? 

Peeled radishes can be sliced or chopped and can be served as a simple side with a drizzle of any condiment to give them a contrasting appearance. 

2. Knife Peeling Method 

This method is going to require some experience and skill, but it is the best way to get the peel off, especially if you don’t have a dedicated vegetable peeler.

We highly recommend that you use a paring knife for this method. These knives are smaller, provide precise control, and are relatively easy to use.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. To peel a radish, place the blade at an angle near the stem. Then, gently push inwards so that the blade makes contact with the skin of the vegetable.
  2. Do not put the knife in more than necessary or you might end up chopping the radish instead of peeling it!
  3. Begin gliding the blade down to the root while maintaining the same angle. Keep your grip loose to avoid peeling thick slices. 
  4. Once you have the first peel, inspect its thickness. If you notice that the peel is thicker than necessary, then you will have to adjust your grip and the angle of the blade.
  5. Repeat the above steps until you have peeled the entire vegetable. Then simply cut the stem and root side and enjoy!

Bonus: Alternate Knife Peeling Method

If you aren’t comfortable peeling the radish from the stem then you could also use the round-peel method. This peeling technique is great for smaller vegetables like radishes and may even help you reduce wastage.

Instead of starting from the root or stem and cutting downwards, we will be peeling sideways to create a rounded peel.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grip the radish with one hand and then hold the knife in the other hand with all your fingers, except for the thumb. 
  2. Place your thumb on the radish and set the edge of the knife just above the thumb. Then simply use your thumb to navigate the blade around the radish.
  3. Keep rotating the vegetable until you reach the other side, then simply move above or below the cut to continue peeling the rest of the radish. Try peeling the entire radish using a swirling motion to create a one-piece winding peel! 

The round-peel method is also used by professional chefs to make beautiful shapes using vegetable peels — radish peels make for an excellent plating option thanks to their attractive color!

Related Questions

Peeling radishes isn’t necessary, but you might be able to use the peels for interesting plating and presentation ideas. You can even use peeled radishes in recipes that don’t require any additional color! 

Now that you know how to peel them, here are some related questions.

Can you use a mandolin to peel radishes? 

Mandolins are excellent tools to create thin or thick slices of vegetables, but they can also be used to peel vegetables. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set the blade on the mandolin to create super thin slices.
  2. Then, carefully grip the radish using the provided accessory and gently push down as you slide across to peel it.
  3. Repeat for all sides until you have peeled the radish! 

Can radish peels be eaten separately? 

Yes, the peels not only provide a pleasing appearance, but they can also add a subtle radish flavor to your recipes!

Radish peels provide a subtle spicy and zesty flavor that can complement most savory recipes, but they are usually used for presentation purposes only.

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