Growers classify radishes by shape: round, oval, oblong, and long. Markets, however, tend to label them by color: red, white, and black. Far and away the most common supermarket radishes are round red globe radishes.
Here are types of radishes you may find in the supermarkets or at farmers’ markets:
Black radishes: These radishes are about 8 inches long, and shaped like a turnip. Black radishes have dull-black or dark brown skin. When peeled, their flesh is white, quite pungent, and drier than other radishes. Commercially grown black radishes are usually a type called Black Spanish, which are available in round and long varieties.
California mammoth white radishes: A larger variety than the white icicles, these radishes have oblong-shaped roots about 8 inches long. Their flesh is slightly pungent.
Chinese radishes (lo bok): These plump, elongated radishes can range in length from 12 to 20 inches. They are crisp with a sharp radish flavor.
Daikons: Native to Asia, these are very large carrot-shaped radishes. They grow up to 18 inches long and can weigh 1 to 2 pounds. Also called Japanese or Oriental radishes, daikons have a juicy white flesh that is a bit hotter than that of red radishes but milder than that of black ones.
French breakfast radishes: These oblong radishes are pink at the top and white at the bottom. Their flavor is slightly sweet and delicate.
Horseradish: Horseradish has a highly complex flavor, a combination of biting hot and intense, with a beguiling undercurrent of sweetness.
Korean radishes (moo): Similar to Chinese radishes and daikon, these rather large radishes have pale green skin and crisp white flesh that ranges in flavor from sweet to slightly hot.
Purple plum radishes: These large, round, reddish-purple radishes look like plums. Their texture is firm and crisp and their flavor is mild.
Radish sprouts: Radish sprouts are plant seedlings that are harvested shortly after germination.
Red globes: Americans are probably most familiar with these small round or oval-shaped “button” red radishes. They range from about 1 to 5 inches in diameter and have solid, crisp, white flesh.
Snowballs: As their name implies, these are round and white. The texture is crisp and the flavor is mild.
Wasabi: This is the pungent, nose-clearing green paste that accompanies sushi or sashimi in Japanese restaurants. Though wasabi is often sold in powders or pastes as Japanese horseradish, what you are actually getting is Western-style horseradish that has been tinted green. Real wasabi is a cruciferous vegetable, and is extremely difficult and expensive to grow. Most real wasabi is still only available in Japan, but there are some American growers actually tackling the challenge of growing the fussy plant in this country.
Watermelon radishes: These large, mild-flavored radishes have thin greenish skin. Just under the skin is a layer of white, and at the center is fuchsia flesh, hence the name watermelon radish.
White icicles: These radishes grow up to 6 inches, with a tapered shaped, and white flesh that is milder than that of red globe radishes.