Fresh Tastes From the Garden- Easter Egg Radishes

While many vegetables have been pushed upon us at the dinner table as kids, you don’t often hear “eat your radishes, Honey.” Broccoli, spinach, green beans and asparagus are the more common culprits, but it might be worth adding radishes to the repertoire. As a Cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes have a host of health benefits but are typically under-appreciated – pushed around on crudité platters until they’re all that’s left and then drowned in ranch dressing to wash them down.

However, for both their health benefits and amazing array of flavors radishes top our list of foods to start paying more attention to and eating on a daily basis. Especially in the spring and early summer when they grow locally and can be picked at their height of freshness and flavor, radishes should be a staple item in your kitchen.

Beyond the natural zing and satisfying crunch they provide, here are nine reasons to “eat your radishes!”

5. Eliminates toxins: In Eastern and Ayurvedic healing practices radishes are said to have effective toxin-purging effects, helping break down and eliminate toxins and cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

6. Protects against cancer: As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (same family as broccoli and cabbage) radishes contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are cancer protecting.

7. Relieves indigestion: Radishes have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help relieve bloating and indigestion.

8. Low in calories, high in nutrients: With a very low calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fiber and tons of flavor to your meals without compromising your health.

9. Keeps you hydrated: With a high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are a nourishing food for the tissues and can help keep your body hydrated and your skin looking fresh and healthy all summer long!

As adapted from Full Circle

1. Naturally cooling: Radishes are a naturally cooling food and their pungent flavor is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body that can build up during the warmer months.

2. Sooth sore throats: Their pungent flavor and natural spice can help eliminate excess mucus in the body and can be especially helpful when fighting a cold. Radishes can help clear the sinuses and soothe soar throats too.

3. Aids digestion: Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system, helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up over time.

4. Prevents viral infections: Because of their high vitamin C content and natural cleansing effects, regular consumption of radishes can help prevent viral infections.The radish is a cool-weather crop. Sow radishes in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before average date of the last frost in spring. In mild winter regions, grow radishes in late autumn and early winter. Radishes can withstand frost.

                              

Growing Tips

Radishes mature incredibly quickly (with some varieties taking only 3 weeks from seed to maturity),  they are very hardy, and they take up very little space in the garden.  Grow radishes in full sun or partial shade. Plant radishes in loose, well-drained soil. Add organic matter to planting beds before planting.  Sow radish seed ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart; thin successful seedlings from 1 to 4 inches apart in wide rows.  Keep radish planting beds moist but not wet. Even, regular watering will result in quick growth. Keep radishes evenly watered so that they grow quickly. Slow growth will cause radishes to taste hot.  Side dress radishes with aged compost at mid season.  The best part about growing radishes is that they have no serious disease problems.

Roasted Radishes with Mint and Feta

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Wash radishes, pat dry, cut off greens, and then halve or quarter radishes so they are roughly the same size.
  3. Toss the radishes with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, honey, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking.
  5. Put radishes on a serving platter and top with feta cheese and mint.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2-2 pounds radishes, about 2 bunches, fresh
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1/2 fresh lemon juiced
  •  lemon zest from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 C feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint

Enjoy!