Eating with the season – radishes

radishes

How come you never nag your family to eat their radishes?

Moms everywhere are withholding dessert till those carrots are finished. Same with broccoli, beans, peas and squash.

But the radish? Its status has been confined to that of a garnish. And one that’s usually pushed to the side of the plate, at that.

But I’m here to fix things – and to elevate the radish to the healthy vegetable ranking it deserves. And, even better, to tell you how to find the very best, crunchiest, healthiest and freshest radishes in the world!

First, here’s the deal with the radish, and why it should be on the A-list of veggies you enjoy.

The radish is fairly high in vitamin C, and it also contains good amounts of vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, fiber and potassium. If that’s not enough, you’ll also find some powerful antioxidants in the radish, as well as detoxifying phytochemicals, including one called “indoles.”

Now, all these good things in radishes have not gone unnoticed. They are considered to have medicinal qualities and are used to boost immune function, treat kidney infections, jaundice and stomach disorders.

And they also taste great!

So if you’re not a fan of the radish, it could be that you’ve been eating some tough, old ones. Because once you taste a super-fresh radish, I dare you to tell me you don’t love it.

And here’s how to find those delicious radishes – grow your own!

Now stop rolling your eyes and saying it’s too late to plant veggies and you don’t have a green thumb. Because even my dog could grow radishes.

And, since radishes are planted in both the spring and fall, now’s the time to plant them as they love sun, but not intense heat. And get ready to eat them too, because it only takes around three to four weeks from seed to plate. The radish is about one of the simplest veggies you can grow. Really.

You can grow them in a container on a patio or porch. And it doesn’t have to be that deep, either. All they ask for is direct sunlight and not to be in scorching temperatures.

Here’s how I do it.

I got a plastic storage box, around 3 inches deep and poked holes in the bottom for the water to drain. You can also use any other kind of container, but the more surface space you have the more radishes you can plant.

Poke your seeds in the soil about one-half to 1 inch deep and approximately 1 inch apart. Keep moist but not sopping wet. And in a few days you’ll see some cute little greens emerging.

If all your seeds sprout, you should thin them so each plant has about 2 inches between its neighbors.

Now, in a few weeks start checking your radishes for harvesting. Since the part we’re interested in will be under the soil, just poke your finger in to see how it’s doing. Some will be bigger than others, but when you see those beautiful, (usually) round radishes under the soil, it’s time to harvest them. Just gently pull them out, one by one. Don’t leave them in too long past maturity, or they will crack.

If it’s not too late in the season, put another seed in where you pulled that radish out. And DON’T discard the top leaves! They are absolutely delicious in a salad or lightly sautéed in olive oil.

The roots, or the radish part we’re familiar with, will keep a week or two in the fridge. And always remove the top greens before storing.

My favorite way to eat them is sliced with a little salt on a bed of radish greens.

While that simple plate is totally down-home fare, I could also see it served in a super-fancy French restaurant at some ridiculous price!

Bon Appetit, radish farmer.

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