I must admit, I’ve never liked radishes much. I don’t think I’m alone. On veggie dip trays, they always seem to be the last item standing, the little red and white rings looking dull and rubbery after a day of abandonment. They are often discreetly pushed aside on the salad plate, along with the massive wedges of grocery store tomatoes. (Why do so many restaurants serve such massive hunks of yucky tomatoes, anyway?)
Much like the difference between meaty slices of heirloom garden tomatoes and the pathetic version mentioned, there is also a huge difference between just-picked brightly colored radishes bunched with their greens and the topless, dull, bagged-in-plastic grocery store kind. Let’s explore some fun facts you can share and then try them in new and exciting ways!
- Radishes were grown by every ancient civilization you can think of-the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese. Even Confucius had something to say about them.
- Radishes were very large until the 1500s, when they were miniaturized into the little globes we have now.
- In the past, radishes were used as deodorant (!) and to heal many skin problems
- Radishes are part of the Brassica family along with its cousins cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnip and many more. Brassicas all contain important cancer fighting ingredients.
- In Mexico, December 23rd is known as Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes). There is a festival in Oaxaca where artists compete for cash by carving elaborate sculptures out of radishes (and you thought that radish tulips were impressive!)
These people love radishes. Wait a minute-these people are radishes! Click Here to see more fun radish photos.
Have your radishes gone soft while waiting for the perfect dish? You can revive them by soaking them in ice water.
Mariquita Farm has a huge selection of radish recipes, from the root (technically the swollen stem bottom) to the tops! Click here to see it.
Here is a beautiful looking salad twist using two seasonal ingredients (radishes and spring onions) brought to you by the Ontario Liquor Control Board’s Food and Drink Magazine, by way of the diet, dessert, and dogs blog (thank you for holding on to this recipe for 4 years!) This one looks so good, even I can’t wait to try it!
Radish and Grapefruit Salad
from Food and Drink, Spring 2004
4 small grapefruit
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125 ml.) pitted black olives
12 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. grapefruit juice
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Peel the grapefruit and cut into sections over a bowl to catch the juice (this should give you enough juice–or more than enough–to make the dressing). Place the grapefruit sections, green onions, olives and radishes in a salad bowl. Chill until ready to serve. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and gently toss together. Serves four. Best eaten right away. If you want to make it in advance, cut all the ingredients but keep the grapefruit and dressing separate and assemble just before serving.