Authored by Rachel Bowers, UMN Public Health and Nutrition
Radishes tend to divide people into two camps, those who love the spicy crisp taste, and those who find the pungent flavor a little too strong. If you’re tired of partisan vegetable politics, reach across the table for some of these radish preparation ideas.
In the market, look for small, firm radishes. The green tops are edible too, so don’t compost or toss them! Store the green tops and red roots separately in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Use the tops within three days, and the roots within a week, before they get soft.
Clean radishes under cold running water, then cut away the top and root end. Raw radishes can be sliced thin and tossed with greens for a salad. They also add a zesty crunch to sandwiches. Cut radishes in half, and their red skins and white middles make a beautiful addition to a veggie platter. Shred a bunch in a food processor, then mix with scallions and an oil of your choice (sesame or olive, for example) for a fresh tasting radish slaw. Very finely minced radishes can also be added to your favorite vinaigrette for a new twist on salad dressing.
Cooking can mellow out the peppery taste. Braise in a large skillet by just covering a single layer of radishes and a little melted butter with broth or white wine. Cook until radishes are tender and then serve with the glaze. The green tops can be sautéed until wilted, not unlike other dark leafy greens. When barbequing, slice radishes thinly, then wrap in tin foil with a pat of butter, and place on a hot grill. Cook until tender.
Radishes provide a good amount of Vitamin C, as well as folate, and potassium. Vitamin C is important nutrient involved in protein synthesis, immune function, and also has antioxidant activity. Folate and potassium are important for DNA synthesis and cell function respectively. Radishes can be a tasty, low calorie addition to your next lunch, dinner or snack. Try a few of these ideas, and soon the radish approval rating will be up at your table!
Salad greens can easily go way beyond the bag. Varieties that are available in the market include romaine, butter lettuce, baby spinach, leaf lettuce and deer tongue. Choose heads with crisp leaves. When you get home, wash the greens and dry thoroughly. Wrap the bunch in a clean paper towel, place in a sealed plastic bag, and you’ll have a salad ready to go during the week. Add any veggies you like (radishes!), drizzle dressing, and toss. Use your favorite dressing, or make your own vinaigrette! The basic recipe is easy: one part vinegar to three parts oil. Experiment with flavors, such as different types of vinegar or oil, or add mustard, finely minced shallots, radishes, herbs, or anything else! You’ll never eat the same salad twice!