Totally RADish


December 6, 2012

Care of Amy Symington
Often pushed to the back of the veggie platter, the radish is actually one rad cruciferous vegetable that deserves a little more credit and recognition, so listen up.
Radishes come in almost every colour of the rainbow from yellow to red to purple, and the types and uses vary all over the globe.  The most commonly used radish in North American is the red radish; Asian countries are known for their diakon usage, also referred to as Chinese or Japanese radish and/or Mooli; Scandinavians lovvve them some Plum Purple radish; and the Sicily Giant radish, is from, you guessed it, Sicily.  Radishes can be found year round and every season brings different varieties.
With that said, come springtime radishes are among the first veggies to be happily harvested.  So happy harvest to you!
Radishes, particularly red and purple radishes, are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin.  This may increase free radical fighting properties, which can decrease chronic inflammatory diseases such as fibrocystic disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and various neurological illnesses.  In addition to reducing inflammation, anthocyanins may also ward off nasty bacterial infections.
Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of folate and potassium and have been shown to provide health benefits relating to digestion and liver function.   On top of that its leaves are also an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of calcium.
Okay, so radishes are pretty remarkable, but what pray tell do you put them in? Radishes are known for their pungent, peppery and mildly bitter flavour. Contrary to what the standard small-town steakhouse will tell you via their tiresome iceberg lettuce and red radish side salad, the flavour profile of this worldly vegetable can lend itself to so many options. Try them in recipes that are sweet, sour, savoury, spicy or a combination!  Punch up your potato salad, coleslaw, sushi, or salsa.  Throw its leaves in pasta, salads, soups and savoury pies or use them instead of rice for curries, chilies or stir-fries.  Bake up some crispy radish chips or caramelized radish flatbread.  Or if you like preserves, the pickling options of the radish are endless. Eat them with arugula, citrus, fennel, beetroot, cucumber, or watercress.  OR just eat them straight up because they’re that totally rad. You are welcome.

Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Nutrition