Radishes are crunchy edible root vegetables domesticated in Asia before Roman times. In the U.S., they are mainly eaten raw or in a salad and possess a pungent flavor. There are many wonderful reasons to incorporate radishes into one’s diet. These crispy veggies are healthy to eat because they contain antioxidants and minerals. Radishes are rich in calcium and potassium, which can help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risks of heart disease. Per WebMD, a leading source of medical information, natural nitrates found in radishes can also improve blood flow.
Known as an easy-to-grow vegetable, radishes offer a quick harvest and help to keep gardens pest-free. Thus, this peppery-flavored produce is enjoyed around the world. Radishes come in various sizes, colors, and varieties. Several types can be easily found in U.S. grocery stores or farmers’ markets. The Cherry Belle is a common variety of round, red radish that many people enjoy. The white Daikon radish is a variety appreciated for a milder and sweeter flavor. Radishes, especially the latter variety, are excellent for fermenting and pickling.
Radishes keep well in the refrigerator and can last for up to two weeks when properly stored. Experts recommend removing the greens, storing them unwashed in a resealable plastic bag with a damp paper towel, and keeping them in the crisper compartment. While there are many ways to enjoy radishes, one fun idea is to create a salad using equal portions of diced English cucumbers and thinly sliced radish (about 2 cups chopped). Sprinkle a handful of Feta cheese over the top and a few tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or dill. Make a dressing using 3 Tablespoons of lemon-flavored olive oil (or make your own) and a dash of salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients and serve.
Don’t like the flavor of raw radishes? Simply roast them instead. Remove greens and wash and cut them into roughly equal pieces. Coat them with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper. Roast them at 400˚ F for about a half hour until they are tender-crisp. Then sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or dill to taste. Baked radishes can be a great addition to any meal, and they can add color and vibrancy to a holiday table or food gathering.
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