Radi, the German Radish They Eat with Beer

In honor of Oktoberfest in Munich – um, let’s take a moment here before I go on. Oktoberfest, despite its name, starts in mid-September every year. It ends on the first weekend of October. Yes, it used to take place in October, but a couple a hundred years ago it was moved up to avoid the bad weather that may occur later in the season. This year, Oktoberfest started on September 19. It ends on October 4.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll start again. In honor of Oktoberfest, I want to tell you about a snack that is served in the beer tents in Germany, along with the brew and pretzels. It’s called Radi, a spiral-cut radish that is sprinkled with salt and maybe chives, and eaten with the fingers as the beer is quaffed. I can’t tell you how great this snack tastes with German beer!

The type of radish served is one that is known as the Munich Beer Radish and which grows in and around those parts where the good beer flows. However, that particular radish species is pretty scarce in the USA. So you can use a daikon radish or any firm, long, white radish. Sometimes they are called winter radishes. I didn’t have access to a real Munich Beer Radish, so I opted for the daikon, which is the closest thing I could find here in Florida.

If you’re into that kind of thing, you can buy heirloom Munich Beer Radish seeds at many online places. If you click here you can see a picture of the real deal and buy the seeds as well.

Technically, you can spiral cut radishes by hand, as shown on this YouTube video. But what fun is that? In the beer tents, the radish is cut on a contraption that is made for the sole purpose of spiral-cutting radishes. Like so:

However, again, I didn’t have that luxury. I did almost buy one of these last year, but they run about 85 Euros ($95 at the time of this writing). I went instead for a spiralizer that I can use for many different kinds of veggies.

So I peeled my daikon and cut it using the straight blade of the spiralizer. There are two drawbacks to using my machine instead of the dedicated spiral cutter. First, the slices on my spiralizer come out thicker, so they aren’t as crispy as the thin-cut spirals. The second is that the core of the radish is not cut, but rather comes out in a long stick:
I also tried an apple peeler/corer machine someone gave me recently:

But the result was worse, with thicker slices and an even larger uncut core. You can see the apple machine result on the left and the spiralizer result on the right in this photo:
So I continued spiralizing my daikons until I got an attractive mound. And in German style, I sprinkled them liberally with salt and chopped chives. Here’s a picture from the Web of the real deal Radi served in Germany. You can see the thinner slices and how the spirals have almost no core missing:

 

The Radi are served with beer, of course, and German pretzels. By the way, if you want to make authentic German pretzels, you can find the recipe in my German cookbook.

Don’t let Oktoberfest pass without trying this crispy, and healthy, snack. It’s raw vegan and gluten-free, too!

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