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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Radishes

Radishes:

About:

The radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) is an edible root vegetable domesticated in Europe in pre-Roman times.  Radishes have numerous varieties varying in size, flavor, and color.  Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the world, being mostly eaten raw as a crunchy salad vegetable.  Radishes are a common garden crop in the U.S. , and their fast harvest cycle makes them a popular choice for children's gardens.

Radishes can be categorized into four main types according to the season they are grown, and a variety of shapes, lengths, colors, and sizes, such as red, pink, white, gray-black, or yellow with round or elongated roots that ca grow longer than a parsnip. 

History:

Radishes are mentioned in historical Chinese annals as early as 2700 BC.  Egyptians cultivated them before building the pyramids.  The only region wild forms have been found is in southeast Asia.  Greek and Roman agriculturalists of the first century AD gave details of small, large, round, long, mild, and sharp varieties.  The radish seems to be one of the first European crops introduced in the Americas. 

My Story:

I remember as a little kid my parents eating radishes in their salad.  They did not give the radishes to kids because of the spiciness.  It was later when I was in the Produce department that I got to know radishes with the tops on them.  In the supermarket we would display radishes with the tops down in a bed of ice with the red radish up then surrounded by a horseshoe of green onions. it made a nice presentation. 

Health Benefits:

 Radishes are a good source of vitamin C - helping to rebuild tissues and blood vessels, and keeping bones and teeth strong.  Radishes can regulate blood pressure, relieve congestion and prevent respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis.  They have antibacterial, anti fungal, and detoxifying properties and contain compounds that soothe rashes, dryness, and other skin disorders.  Eating radishes can help in the removal of bilirubins.  Radishes contain fiber which helps keep our system flushed and functioning with regularity.  Radishes contain an important antioxidant compound called sulforaphane, which is a proven inhibitor of prostate, colon, breast, ovarian, and other cancers. 

Here is a list of 9 radish benefits:

  1. Naturally cooling - can decease excessive heat in the body
  2. Soothe sore throats - helps eliminate mucous in the body
  3. Aids digestion - natural cleansing agent fora the digestive system
  4. Prevents viral infections - high in vitamin C
  5. Eliminates toxins - helps break down and eliminate toxins and cancer causing free radicals
  6. Protects against cancer - as a member of the calciferous vegetable family, they contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are cancer protecting
  7. Relieves indigestion - have a calming effect on the digestive system
  8. Low in calories, high in nutrients - less than 20 calories in a cup of radishes
  9. Keeps you hydrated -   have high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus, and zinc. 

Season:

Locally grown radishes are in season early in the spring, but radishes from Florida and Texas, the highest producers, are available all year. 

Selecting and Storing:

Where possible, buy radishes with the tops on.  The tops should be fresh and green, not yellow.  The color of radishes with their tops is usually brighter and they have a fresher, spicier flavor.  Radishes also come in cello bags with the tops removed.  Look for bright red color and no black spots. 
Refrigerate radishes with the tops on in the crisper drawer or in a plastic bag.  Cello bag radishes should also be stored in tahe refrigerator. 

Radish should have their tops removed, which can be cooked and eaten as a green,usually with another green such as spinach, and washed then thinly sliced and added to a salad. 

So..... Eat up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.


Simple but good:

Sauteed Radishes

1 TBS butter 
20 radishes, ends trimmed and cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a skillet over low heat.  Arrange radishes cut side down in the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until radishes are browned and softened, about 10 minutes. 
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