by Camille Cody
One of the fastest growing crops and first things to germinate in the ground in spring are radishes. All shapes and sizes from little red and white Cherry Belles, to the earthy colorful tones of Easter Eggs, to long and slender French Breakfasts, to the thick-skinned, sweet and bulbous Black variety, and even on to the funky colorful Watermelon radish (you have to see it to believe it!).
Radishes in salads, radishes with butter on toast (the classic French style preparation), sauteed radishes with chopped garlic and oil or butter, and pickled radishes. There are numerous ways to use up these peppy springtime growers.
Rivaling the potato in alkalizing abilities, the radish is a top-notch health food in that it can counter-balance a lot of the acidity we get from eating overly-processed foods, fast foods and heavy, rich meals. The light and crunchy little radish comes in and helps clean up your body of toxins and harmful chemicals. And they can have a bite to them as well!
With a mustard-pungency, radishes can be overwhelming to the tastebuds if not balanced by something creamy or slightly sweet (hence the French style with butter and bread) or mellowed in a cooking process. Cooking breaks down a lot of the spiciness some radishes can take on (especially if harvested too late, most radishes will get hotter the longer they sit in the ground) and transforms it into a sweeter, mild-tasting vegetable.
Don’t have a clue what to do with those intimidating black radishes? Cube them up like beets or turnips and bake them with a mix of root vegetables or on their own and see just how soft and sweet a radish can be.
Or thinly slice little radishes and flash-saute in a hot pan for just a few minutes in some rice vinegar, salt and pepper and add a warm crunch to your typical salad.
Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of one of the most prolific springtime vegetables, scatter a few seeds in the garden starting now (radishes can germinate easily in the cooler temperatures of springtime soils) and in just a few short weeks you’ll have your first harvest ready to eat.