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A Case for the Radish

Aug 17, 2007
They sit left behind on relish trays. They're often by-passed in grocery store refrigerator shelves. Dad and Grandpa usually eat them but later complain of belching them up. The poor radish has gotten a bum rap. There are at least five different varieties; but for now, the popular, red globe variety will be spotlighted. They are a great source of vitamin C and an excellent low calorie snack (only 12 calories in a half cup of radishes). Radishes are root vegetables that are classified in the cabbage and mustard family, thus their strong taste.

Most people eat them raw, with a little salt. If you'd like your radishes to be a little crispier and a little less sharp in taste, put them in ice water for a couple hours before you plan to eat them. There are also a number of ways to cook them. Boil a half inch of water, add the sliced radishes, and then cover and simmer until tender, adding more water if necessary. Cook five to ten minutes. To microwave, place a half pound of sliced radishes in a microwave safe dish with 1 tablespoon of water or broth. Cook for approximately four minutes.

If the taste of raw radishes is a little too pungent for some, try them steamed. Their bright red skin will turn pink on steamed radishes. The easiest way to steam them is to place whole radishes in a vegetable steamer and cook over boiling water until barely tender. Cook approximately eight to twelve minutes. Another way to prepare our friend, the red radish, is to stir fry them. Sliced radishes combine well with other vegetables and meat in stir-fries. Don't over cook them or they'll become mushy. Cook approximately three to five minutes.

As Cliff Claven would say, "It's a little known fact that ..." radishes were first cultivated thousands of years ago in China, then in Egypt and Greece. In Greece they were so highly regarded that gold replicas were made. (Now that's some serious radish lovers!)

So the next time you walk past radishes in the grocery store or at the market, back track a few steps and pick up a bunch or two. Or better yet, plant some in your garden this year. Radishes are one of the very first vegetables ready for harvest in the spring. They will in turn, ready your soil for other veggies! Give these little guys a chance again.
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