Among the smallest of root vegetables, the radish is as delicious and versatile as it is mighty. It is powerful in two ways: one, its antimicrobial and antiviral properties provide lung protection against infections and inflammation; and two, its compounds stimulate the mucus membranes that line the respiratory tracks and work quickly to clear lung congestion. It’s rich in folic acid and potassium, and it packs fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C –lots of vitamin C!
This mighty vegetable has the capacity to reduce inflammation in the body, and its compounds are well known for their ability to help prevent bladder cancer. Being a natural diuretic, it helps purify the kidney and urinary systems and relieve inflammation. The radish is a member of a very distinguished group of cancer fighting vegetables known as Cruciferous Cancer Fighters that belong to the cabbage family. Some of the members of this family include: arugula, broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, Swiss chard, turnips, mustard greens, and kale.
Ten facts about the delicious radish:
- 1. Radishes are available all year long but are at their peak from June through September.
- 2. Soaking radishes in ice water for an hour will increase their crispness.
- 3. One cup of sliced radishes has only 19 calories.
- 4. The radish is related to wasabi, a staple condiment of Japanese cuisine.
- 5. The scientific name for the genus that includes radishes is Raphanus, Greek for “quickly appearing.”
- 6. Some radishes are grown for their seeds for oil production, others are used for sprouting.
- 7. The radish is believed to be native to Southeast Asia.
- 8. The radish produces white flowers and insects are the main pollinators.
- 9. There are hundreds of different varieties of radish.
- 10. The radish is categorized according to the seasons in which it grows, and a variety of shapes, lengths, color, and sizes.
These are a few popular types:
White Icicle: a pungent, white radish that measures 5 to 8 inches (13-20 cm.) in length.
Sparkler: this is a round and bright red radish with a distinctive white tip; the inside is all white.
Cherry Bell: a round and red radish variety often found in the supermarket that is delicious in salads.
White Beauty: this small, round radish with a sweet, juicy flavor is white inside and out.
Early Scarlet Gold: a juicy, crispy-tender heirloom variety with a round shape, red skin, and white flesh.
Ways to prepare:
While there are literally hundreds of recipes out there, there are arguably only two best ways to eat a radish. The first is smeared in butter and dusted with crunchy sea salt. It’s important to use room-temperature butter–the most delicious, tangy, cultured butter you can find–, and coarse salt crystals. The second is in a delicious juice: wash and chop one large radish, one apple, a chunk of fresh ginger, one peeled lime, and a handful of cilantro, parsley or basil. Put in your juicer and enjoy!
I consider the former a healthy indulgence (wink, wink), and the latter a must. A must because a juice is definitely the ideal method of packing in large quantities of the nutrients that make the radish so powerful; it is quick, easy, and delicious! And hey, if you don’t have a vegetable garden yet, there’s still time to get started. Give us a call today!
In good health,