When can babies eat radishes?
Radish may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months old.
Where do radishes come from?
Radishes grow worldwide in myriad colors, shapes, and sizes. While the vegetable’s origin remains a mystery, studies suggest the plant may have first sprouted in Asia, where wild radishes can still be foraged and cultivated varieties are part of everyday cooking. Across the continent, one popular variety is the daikon radish (also called mooli), which is used in breads like luóbo gāo and paratha, pickles like do chua and takuan, and stews like mullangi sambar and sinigang. Other common types worldwide include the snowy white mu radish used in kimchi, the two-toned breakfast radish paired with bread and butter, and colorful globe-shaped radishes that adorn tacos. Like kohlrabi, turnip, and other brassicas, all parts of the radish plant are edible, including its nutrient-rich greens.
Are radishes healthy for babies?
Yes. Though radishes are not as nutrient-rich as some other vegetables, they still offer plenty of benefits, including potassium, a bit of vitamin C, B vitamins, folate, and calcium. All radishes offer plenty of phytonutrients, while red and purple radish varieties have extra antioxidants.1
Interestingly, pickled (fermented) radishes, on their own or in combination with other foods such as in kimchi, help to support baby’s developing gut microbiome.2 3 Fermented vegetables and other probiotic-rich foods introduce friendly bacteria to baby’s digestive system, which support brain development, hormone function, and immune regulation.4 5 6 However, pickled radishes and kimchi can be high in sodium (in excess of baby’s needs). Therefore, rinse pickled radishes and kimchi under water to reduce sodium before offering to babies.
Radish leaves are also edible and packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as other beneficial plant compounds like quercetin and antioxidants.7
Are radishes a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Raw, hard vegetables like radishes are choking hazards. To minimize the risk, cook radish roots until soft, then mash, or grate raw radish before serving. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within an arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our sections on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
Are radishes a common allergen?
No. Allergies to radishes are uncommon, but have been reported.8 9 10 Radishes are part of the cruciferous vegetable family and individuals who are allergic or sensitive to other members of this plant family, such as mustard greens and broccoli, could theoretically be sensitive to radishes as well.11 12
Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome (also known as pollen food allergy syndrome), and in particular those with sensitivities to mugwort pollen, may also be sensitive to cruciferous vegetables like radishes.13 14 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Cooking radishes can help minimize the reaction.15 16
Can radishes help babies poop?
Radishes offer good amounts of fiber (particularly lignin, a type of insoluble fiber), glucosinolates, and phenolic compounds – together, these contribute to overall digestive health and bowel regularity.17 18 19 20 21 Note that pooping patterns can vary significantly from child to child. Be sure to talk to your pediatric healthcare provider if you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function.
How do you prepare radishes for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 8 months old: Cook the radish until it is very soft and pierceable with a fork, then mash and serve in a bowl for baby to scoop with their hands. You can also introduce baby to radish’s spicy flavor by offering a small pinch of grated raw radish or minced pickled radish on top of baby’s food. Radish leaves are edible, too—if you’d like to serve them, finely chop the cooked greens and stir them into the mashed root or another soft, scoopable food like yogurt.
9 to 12 months old: At this age, babies develop the pincer grasp (where the thumb and forefinger meet), which enables them to pick up smaller pieces of food. When you see signs of this development, try moving down in size by offering quartered or thin slices of cooked, soft radish. You can also offer small amounts of grated raw radish, as well as cooked, chopped radish greens.
12 months and up: Offer thinly sliced or grated raw radish, or continue to offer bite-sized pieces of cooked radish and try serving alongside a fork or spoon to encourage utensil practice. If the child is not interested in using a utensil, don’t worry: using utensils can be exhausting for new eaters, and many children toggle back and forth between feeding themselves with their fingers and utensils. Consistent and accurate utensil use will come in due time, probably between 18 and 24 months of age.
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What are recipe ideas for cooking with radishes?
Radishes are used in cuisines all over the world, which means you have plenty of options. Try combining radish, avocado, and lime juice to make a simple salsa fresca that tastes delicious on breakfast tacos, grilled fish, or stewed meats recipes with Mexican roots. Toss radish, garlic, and scallion with vinegar and pepper to make musaengchae, a spicy side dish in Korean households and restaurants alike. Simmer radish and other vegetables in a flavorful stock like oden, a nourishing one-pot dish in Japan. Get inspiration from Indian cooks and stew radish greens in moong dal or season shredded radish with spices. Want to keep it simple for baby? Finish roasted radishes with butter—a nod to the classic flavor pairing in France.
★Tip: When stored properly, such as in a paper bag, radish roots can last 10-14 days in the fridge. The greens have a shorter lifespan and are best used in a couple of days.
Recipe: Roasted Radishes Two Ways
Yield: ½ c (66 g)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Age: 6 months+
This recipe contains common allergens: dairy (butter) and wheat (bread). Only serve to a child after these allergens have been safely introduced. Always check for potential allergens in ingredients listed on the labels of store-bought processed foods, such as bread. Added ingredients may also include honey, which should not be given to babies younger than 12 months.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius). Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Trim and discard the greens, stems, and roots from each radish. Wash the radishes under cold water to remove any dirt and debris.
- Coat the cleaned radishes with oil and place on the tray. Roast until the radishes have softened and a knife easily inserts into the thickest radish, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the radishes from the oven. When the radishes are cool to the touch, cut the radish into age-appropriate sizes.
- Mash one of the radishes with the unsalted butter, then spread the radish butter on a thin rice cake or a strip of toasted bread about the width of two adult fingers pressed together.
Serve the Radish
- Serve the radish to baby as finger food and let the child try to self-feed.
- To encourage the use of a utensil, simply preload a spoon and rest it next to the food for the child to try to pick up. Alternatively, pass the preloaded spoon or toast strip in the air for baby to grab.
To Store: Roasted Radishes Two Ways keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
J. Truppi, MS, CNS. Certified Nutrition Specialist®
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP. Board-Certified Pediatric Dietitian & Nutritionist
K. Tatiana Maldonado, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CLEC. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
K. Grenawitzke, OTD, OTR/L, SCFES, IBCLC, CNT. Pediatric Feeding Therapist
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
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