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Reasons to Add Radishes to Your Routine


Are you someone who loves the vibrant red crunch of a fresh radish?

 

Or does that distinct peppery radish flavor send you running the other direction?

 

Some people absolutely love radishes, and then there are others who only think of them as those thinly sliced veggies you find on a salad bar.  We hope this coaching tip will either give you new ideas how to enjoy radishes or pleadingly convince you to give them a try!

Although radishes are typically available year-round, they are a great cool-season crop and at their best in the spring and fall.  Right now is a great time to find them at your local farmers' markets!

 

What are radishes?

Radishes are an edible root vegetable and can be found in white, red, purple or even black.  They are typically round, but can also be long and cylinder shaped.

You may have also seen the popular Asian radish, known as a daikon, which tends to be sweeter and milder than other radishes and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

 

 

There are several types of radishes, and here are some of the most common:

 

Cherry Belle -

round red radish...this is the most common variety found in stores.

 

 

 

 

 

White Icicle -

long white radish that can grow 5 to 8 inches in length.

 

 

 

 

 

French Breakfast -

these oblong radishes are pink at the top and white at the bottom and are slightly sweet and more delicate.

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Egg -

probably the most colorful variety of radish...you can find them in white, pink, red or purple!  These are often available early in the growing season.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon -

these radishes can grow to be the size of baseballs!  They are larger, mild flavored radishes and have a thin greenish skin.  And, just under the skin is a layer of white, with a fuchsia color in the center...hence the watermelon name!

 

 

 

 

 

Daikon -

these may look more like a white carrot than a radish, and they can grow up to 18 inches long and 3 inches wide.  They are white inside and out, and can also be called Japanese or Oriental radishes.

 

 

Why should we all be eating radishes?

The number one reason...radishes are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which means they are packed with antioxidants!  Remember from our coaching tip on antioxidants, this is a great way to prevent damage done by free radicals and reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Radishes are also rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, helping protect our respiratory and immune systems and manage inflammation.  They also help with digestion, water retention and constipation, and are a great source of potassium, which helps reduce blood pressure.  Plus, there is only about 20 calories in 1 cup of radishes!

 

Why do some radishes have a "peppery kick?"

If you have ever noticed a "spicy" sensation when you eat a radish, much of this comes from compounds that metabolize when you chew them and produce the peppery kick.  This is similar to the compounds found in horseradish and wasabi.  For some, this is one of the attractions of radishes.  For others, this may turn them off...but, stay tuned for ideas to change this perception!

 

How do you pick radishes?

Look for radishes that are firm to the touch and smooth-skinned, not cracked or wrinkled.  The leaves should be crisp and fresh looking.

 

How do you store radishes?

  • First, it is best to cut the radishes away from the stems and leaves, because leaving them attached can cause moisture and nutrients to be drawn out of the radishes.
  • You can wash them now, or just before eating.
  • Store the radishes in an open plastic bag, and they will keep for up to 1 to 2 weeks (you can also place a moistened paper towel in the bag if desired).
  • If your radishes dry out, you can put them in a bowl of ice water for 5-10 minutes to help their crunch come back to life!

 

What do you do with the radish greens?

You can eat the greens!  They are edible, healthy and delicious -- they have the same slight peppery taste as the radishes.  After rinsing them well to remove any grit or dirt, they can be stored in an airtight container or bag and will keep for a few days.

You can eat the radish greens just like other sturdy greens such as kale, spinach, or Swiss chard.  This makes them ideal to add to salads, soups, frittatas, or stir fry dishes...and they also work great in homemade pesto or smoothies.

 

What is the secret to reducing the radish peppery kick?

Have you ever pickled radishes?!  Quick pickling is the perfect delicious solution for those that are not a fan of that peppery kick!  Then, add your pickled radishes to lettuce wraps, burgers or tacos to send the flavor over the top!  Watch our video to see how easy it is to quick pickle radishes when making our Panzanella Salad:

 

 

Believe it or not, you can cook radishes!  Braising, roasting and grilling can also tone down the peppery kick.

Radishes can be braised in a little butter and red wine vinegar, sautéed with olive oil and fresh herbs, or added toward the end in stir fry dishes.

And it doesn't stop there -- they are also great roasted or grilled...all it takes is a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and of course any of your other favorite spices such as smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder or dried rosemary...you can even sweeten it up with a little bit of honey or pure maple syrup!

 

How do you enjoy radishes?

Radishes are of course excellent in salads such as the Corn and Radish Salad, Asparagus and Radishes with Mint, and the Mexican Pineapple Salad, and they can be substituted for turnips or other root vegetables.

 

Try some of these absolutely delicious ideas:

 

Zonya Says:

I had the opportunity to stay at the Sanderson's for 6 days while we worked together.  I had NEVER had a daikon radish, but they were "mainstays" of the salads Krista makes frequently.

I was so impressed that I took these two photos -- radishes are such a tasty way to help get our "daily" cruciferous vegetable.  (Experts are so convinced of the cancer fighting abilities of cabbage family vegetables that they want us to eat a serving every single day!)

 

 

 

 

And, yes, this is a snapshot of Krista's frig drawer, without beautifying, this is exactly how it was!

Let me just say, this dietitian/nutritionist was impressed!

Go ahead and take the challenge and try radishes in different ways...you may discover something new and delicious you never knew you liked!

 

Do you have a favorite way to enjoy radishes?

 

Please tell us so we can share with others!

 

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2 Responses to Reasons to Add Radishes to Your Routine

  1. I’ve been enjoying radishes roasted lately! Since I can’t have potatoes due to inflammation issues, radishes have been my substitute! They work great roasted with other veggies or alone using the GOTO seasoning Krista has shared about.

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