Why Are Radishes Spicy?

Radishes can have round, icicle or cylindrical tuber shapes in red, white, yellow, purple or pink. Here you can learn why radishes taste spicy and what mild and spicy varieties are available.

Where does the sharpness come from?

  • Pungency due to mustard oil
  • Mustard oil as protection against predators
  • Variations in pungency possible within a variety
  • pungency depends on radish variety, weather, season, degree of ripeness and water content
  • cool and dry weather: small tubers with sharper taste
  • warm and humid weather: larger tubers with somewhat milder pungency
  • hotter in midsummer than in spring

Tip: Likewise, there are differences in pungency due to the method of cultivation. In the greenhouse, the tubers become a little milder in taste and a little more tender. This allows you to vary the flavor of spicy varieties to your liking.

Mild varieties


Albena is a spring-autumn variety and has snow-white tubers with a round shape. The radish tastes mildly spicy and has no sharp aftertaste.

Burro Gigante

This variety with large round red tubers originates from Italy and is early ripening. Its mild spicy flavor is appreciated by many gourmets.

Celesta (F1)

This variety is mainly chosen for commercial cultivation. It grows quickly and is suitable for year-round outdoor cultivation.

Why Are Radishes Spicy?

Cherry Belle

Cherry Belle is a fast growing variety for spring and fall with thin, bright red skin.

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This oval-shaped, very tender and mildly spicy variety has purple coloring with white tips. It is fast-growing and perfect for follow-on sowings at 14-day intervals.

Flamboyant 2

This radish variety with elongated tubers that have white markings on the lower third has a visual similarity to the French Breakfast 3 variety.

French Breakfast 3

French Breakfast 3 is a fast-growing variety bred in France around 1880. It has elongated red tubers with a white tinge in the lower part and can be grown from spring to fall.


Helios is a yellow, tender radish variety with aromatic mild flavor. It is heat tolerant, does not become woody and can be sown even in summer.


Malaga is a small decorative tuber with purple skin and crisp white flesh. It tastes very mild.


This variety is particularly firm-fleshed and has large red tubers in a spherical shape. The summer variety is very robust against fungal infections.


Poloneza grows fast and shows white colored tubers with mild-spicy aroma. It can be grown all year round.

Frequently asked questions

What does F1 mean for some radish varieties?

F1 can mean: Hybrid cultivars, crossing of two cultivars in the first generation, not seed resistant, as well as no uniform offspring possible from harvested seed.

Will their taste change if I leave radishes in the ground longer?

Yes, the taste does change. If ripe tubers remain in the ground longer, they lose their flavor. In addition, they become furry and woody.

How can I tone down the spiciness of hot radishes a bit?


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