You don’t have to be a rabbit to crave radishes! These edible roots, part of the Brassicaceae family, come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and are a great source of vitamins A, C and B. Whether you choose to enjoy your radishes raw in a salad, cook them, or pickle them, these veggies are a yummy culinary treat!
Radishes have long, slender leaves arranged in a rosette. The leaves are typically bright green, have a rough texture, and the outside leaves are larger than the rest of the inner ones. They are cylindrical shaped. The skin of the vegetable comes in a variety of colors, including purple and red, but the flesh inside is always fresh white.
The flesh of a radish is mildly sweet, but can become bitter if left in the ground for too long.
Radishes are available year round and readily available in chain, ethnic, and organic supermarkets.
Radishes can be grown all year round, but do best in the winter and spring months. When harvested during the winter months, they are larger, stay crisper longer and are more pungent in taste. During the dry months of summer, radishes have a tendency to taste more bitter.
Choose radishes that have crisp and firm roots. When it comes to size, smaller is always better. Be sure to check that the leaves are crisp and bright green. Check the texture of the radish by gently squeezing it. It should feel firm, not soft, and have smooth skin.
Do not select radishes that have wilted roots, feel soft, or contain any brown spots or other blemishes. Avoid oversized roots too, because these will be too pithy. Cracked skin is an indication that there are fewer nutrients, so don’t pick these ones either.
To store radishes, do not wash them; but remove the leaves, put in airtight plastic bags and place in the crisper section of the refrigerator. During winter, radishes can stay fresh for up to two weeks this way, while in the summer they can keep for one week. You can also bury the radish in a moist sand-filled container and store it in your cellar or garage to keep the radish fresh for about a month!
Riboflavin is helpful for metabolism, aiding in fatty acid energy release. Vitamin B2 is also important for metabolizing proteins, ketone bodies, and carbohydrates.
Amino acids and lipids are the main nutrients metabolized by vitamin B6, helping to promote proper energy levels throughout the body. It is also an important aspect of the formation of hemoglobin and neurotransmitters, protecting both the cardiovascular system and brain.
Calcium is an essential mineral responsible for building dense bones and teeth, muscle contractions, neurotransmitter health, and cardiovascular health.
Magnesium is responsible for promoting cardiovascular health, muscle contraction and relaxation, energy production, and proper bone formation. This essential nutrient may also be helpful in regulating healthy blood-sugar levels, decreasing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.
A mineral that plays a role in producing collagen and keeping the immune system in proper working order, copper is an essential nutrient needed by the body in small amounts. Copper may also fight against free radicals, helping to delay the aging process. Energy production is also one of the many benefits of this important mineral.
Bitter, pungent flavors are often missing from our diets, but they point the way to an important class of foods that are especially cleansing. The strong detoxifying properties of radishes can help purify blood by supplying more oxygen and restraining the damage of red blood corpuscles. Further, as members of the cruciferous family, they’re packed with isothiocyanates, making them great detoxifiers for the liver and stomach. Finally, the innumerable antioxidants and immune-supporting compounds in radishes protect and repair DNA, defending the body against chronic disease.
- Radishes were first cultivated and consumed in China.
- When radishes are soft, soak them in a jar of icy cold water for up to two days. The temperature of the water rejuvenates radishes to makes them crisp.
- Mexican citizens celebrate a radish festival named Noche de los Rábanos on December 23rd.