Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are a fast-growing, cool-weather-loving, crisp round or cylindrical root that can be sweet or more pungent depending on variety and growing conditions . They are part of the Brassica family, making them cousins with broccoli, kale, cabbage, and so on. Although usually grown for the bright red, white or lavender roots, radish greens can be eaten as well. In addition, we grow daikon radishes in fall - a spicy radish great for making kimchi or pickles.

To store, cut off the green leafy tops and store roots and greens separately in plastic bags in the fridge (leaving the tops attached causes moisture and nutrient loss during storage). Use these radish roots fresh - chop or shred into salads, slaws or salsas, add slices onto toast with cream cheese, add to sandwiches, or use with your favorite dip. They can also be lightly cooked. Radish greens can be raw salads (if young and tender) or cooked in soups or stir-fries.

Here are some more unusual ways to use radishes:

Braised Radishes
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

20 plump radishes
1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
2 stalks green garlic, cleaned as you would a leek and chopped, use all the light green part
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Trim the leaves from the radishes, leaving a bit of the green stems, and scrub them. Wash the leaves and set aside. Leave smaller radishes whole and halve the larger ones. Melt 2 to 3 teaspoons of the butter in a small saute pan. Add the shallot and thyme and cook for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the radishes, a little salt and pepper, and water just to cover. Simmer until the radishes are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the leaves and cook until they're wilted and tender, 1 minute more. Remove the radishes to a serving dish. Boil the liquid, adding a teaspoon or two more butter if you like, until only about 1/4 cup remains. pour it over the radishes and serve.

Bread-and-Butter Radish Pickles

1 bunch red radishes (about 13 radishes)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup
granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown
mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon whole
coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon whole black
1 medium dried
bay leaf

Slice radish roots into thin disks and set aside into fridge. Combine all other ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Let liquid cool for 5 min then pour over radishes. Let it all sit at room temperature for 20 min, then cover and refridgerate - they will last for weeks!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is great; thanks for mentioning it, Meryl. Though I thought 20 minutes wasn't nearly enough time: they seemed much tastier after a week. -Dan W.