I have been learning a lot about radishes, just in the past few weeks! We had never grown them in our garden before…actually, I didn’t even know we planted them! What a great surprise! All of the radishes were ready to pick pretty much at once. So we have a plethora over here.
Radishes are root vegetables with a little bit of a spicy bite. If you decided as a kid to not like them, I dare you to try them again! They can be a wonderful addition to so many things. I say this because I have just recently discovered my own affinity for them. And let me say, the radishes in my garden do not count… which leads me to my first point:
At the market, try to select small to medium-sized, brightly colored radishes with tender little green tops. In the super market, these tops are probably already wilting and may even be a little on the slimy side. But if you buy them fresh, the leaves can be used as well! More bang for your buck, right?
If you are growing them, yourself, as we did, make sure you pick them while the green tops are still small and tender. Your radishes will probably be little, but you will save yourself from letting them get spicier and spicier as they wait in the ground… something we learned the hard way. We started eating the radishes we had just picked only to be shocked by the fiery, unpleasant burn in our mouths! This is why, even at the farmer’s market, you should choose small-ish ones. You don’t want them to be too spicy or to have a tough, inedible outer layer.
At least the ones we have will be good for our soil, when we till them under… something else I learned this week!
When we got our radishes back to the kitchen, we washed off the dirt, cut the tops so there was about an inch of green stem left, and put them in zip-lock bags for the refrigerator. Don’t try to cut these in advance. In fact, don’t cut them at all, until you’re just ready to use them, to keep them from drying out. Radishes are excellent sliced thinly on rich foods like huevos rancheros or barbecue. They’re also wonderful on their own with any briny dip or sauce. They can roasted or eaten raw.
We saved the leaves by cutting them from the largest part of their stem and washing. We stored these in their own zip lock back in the fridge to add to salads and grilled pizzas throughout the week. A few leaves, chopped in a salad, offer a great, unexpected kick that would have been wasted if you threw the tops away!
Radishes are low in sodium, low in calories, fat and cholesterol free, and high in vitamin C. I was also interested to learn that they rank very low on the glycemic index, which is not true of many other root vegetables.
Stay tuned for one simple way to enjoy radishes!