how to tell if radishes are bad

Have you ever gone to slice up some radish to add some zing to a spring salad and wondered how to tell if radishes are bad?

While you probably know how to tell if other vegetables like potatoes and carrots have gone bad, you may not know the signs of bad radishes.

It’s something a lot of people have never thought about let alone learned because they don’t use radishes all that often.

There are so many uses for radishes beyond mixing them with salad greens that you may not even know about.

For example, like their more popular orange cousin, the carrot, radishes are delicious when roasted or sauteed in butter, and they’re also lovely pickled or grilled.

Whether you’re looking into new recipes to try that include radish or are an avid radish fan, knowing how to tell when they’re no longer good to eat is beneficial.

Learning the signs of expired radishes can help you avoid eating bad ones and getting sick.

The easiest way to tell if a radish has gone bad is by looking for texture, scent, and signs of decay.

How Long Does it Take for Radishes to Go Bad?

How long your radishes will last vary. A lot depends on how you store them.

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But to get the best taste from your radishes, you ideally want to eat them as soon as possible after harvesting.

Some veggies like potatoes can last three to five weeks on your counter or three to four months in your refrigerator, and carrots can last up to two months stored in your fridge.

radish go bad

Unlike these veggies, radishes have a relatively short shelf life compared to most root vegetables.

At room temperature, an uncut radish will last a mere three days, while refrigerated radishes can last anywhere from eight days to two weeks.

If you’re going to use your fresh radishes within a day or so of purchasing them, then you can safely leave them on your countertop.

If you’re someone who accidentally let’s produce go bad, storing them in your fridge is the best option to preserve them for as long as possible before using them.

You can boost their longevity by removing the greens and wrapping unwashed radishes in a wet paper towel.

After that place them in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper to keep this pretty red bulbous root moist, fresh, and crisp for longer.

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Radish greens will lose their freshness in just a few days, so you’ll want to eat them in pretty short order.

All Radish greens should be discarded at the first sign of withered leaves, dark spots, or discoloration.

Tip: Use your fresh radishes as soon as possible to prevent them from going bad.

What About Freezing or Fermenting Radishes?

freezing radishes

Did you know that you can freeze radishes? When stored properly, frozen radishes will last six months.

For best results in freezing radishes, you will want to wash, slice, and blanch them for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, and then store them in freezer-safe bags or containers.

If you’re a fan of pickles or kimchi, radishes can also be fermented and safely stored for up to six months when properly pickled.

Tip: You’ll want to fully defrost frozen radishes before cooking and eating them.

How To Tell if Radishes Are Bad?

signs radish gone bad

As you pull out that pack of radishes to start preparing your lunch or dinner, you’ll want to make sure they’re still good to eat first.

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Nothing will ruin a meal faster than eating a rotting radish.

There are a few different but simple methods you can use to tell if your radishes have gone bad.

Here are a few of the tried and true ways to tell if your radishes have gone bad.


Fresh radishes are crisp and vibrant red. Anything less than smooth skin with a bright red hue is a good sign that your radishes are past their prime.

When in doubt, think of an apple. You wouldn’t eat a squishy, mottled apple, and you shouldn’t eat a radish that looks and feels gross either.

You’ll also want to look for any dark spots, mold, or rot before eating radishes, just like you would with other vegetables.

Small dark spots can be safely cut off to preserve the radish for eating, but anything more is a sign of decay and a good indicator that your radishes have gone bad.

If your radishes are experiencing decay, the best thing you can do is throw them away. Your intestines will thank you.

Tip: Trust your gut. If something looks off, don’t eat them and toss them out.


smelly radish

While pickled radishes can be distinctly odiferous (and NOT in the best way) due to sulfur compounds that form during the pickling process, fresh radishes don’t have a scent.

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If your radishes start smelling funky or have a strong odor, it’s usually a good sign that they have turned.

This is especially true when combined with any of the changes in appearance listed above.

So, if you’re going by smell, you’ll only be able to tell if your radishes are bad based on the smell if they’re fresh.

Pickled radishes will have an odor naturally due to the pickling liquid.

Tip: If your fresh radishes have an odor, you need to throw them away.


check radish texture

Fresh radishes are firm and crisp at their ripest due to their high water content.

While a slightly soft radish won’t kill you and can still be safely eaten, barely soft radishes won’t taste as good as when they are at their crunchy peak.

If your radishes start to feel soft, slimy, or mushy, that is a good sign that it’s time to add them to the compost bin.

Let’s face it, you probably don’t want to put any fruit or bad vegetable that’s gone slimy in your mouth, right?

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Frequently Asked Questions

related questions about radish

If you find yourself still having some questions about how to tell if radishes are bad, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about them and their answers.

How to Tell if Fermented Radishes are Bad?

You can tell if your fermented radishes are bad by their smell and appearance.

If you notice fuzzy mold or a firm, foul odor, they’re signs that the fermented radishes are no longer safe for you to eat.

You can’t go by how they feel because fermented radishes are already slimy and soft by nature.

What are the Best Ways to Cook Radishes?

The best part about radishes is that you can cook them in various ways!

Roasting them in your oven with a generous amount of garlic, adding them to salads, and sauteeing them with potatoes are all very popular ways to eat this veggie.

Will Eating Expired Radishes Make Me Sick?

Eating expired radishes may make you sick. If you eat expired radishes or radishes that have visible signs of decay, you’ll likely not feel great afterward.

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Expired raw radishes are known to carry bacteria like E.coli, which is not something you want to deal with.

Final Thoughts

For those who love radishes or are looking into adding them to more of their dishes, it is essential to learn how to tell if radishes are bad. No one wants to eat old produce and maybe get sick.

Produce tends to go bad quicker than other food items, so it is essential to use your radishes before they go bad.

Radishes have gone bad if they have an odor, have discoloration, or mold on them. Fresh radishes have no scent, so you’ll have to look for signs rather than smell them.

Ensuring your radishes are in good condition before eating them will prevent you from not feeling well or even serious illness.