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Spring is here and all of us at Oldways can’t help but think about the delicious bounty of New England fruits and vegetables that will soon start appearing in farmer’s markets and farm share boxes. Luckily for us, one of the first vegetables to emerge is the radish. Their bright color, crisp texture, slightly peppery flavor, and nutritious (but often overlooked greens) signal the advent of warmer weather, longer, sunny days, and more delicious produce to come.

Fortunately, many types of radishes – like other roots including onions, garlic, and carrots – also store well through the colder months. This means that we can enjoy their juicy crunch year-round. These versatile vegetables play well as a standalone snack, in salads, slaws, braises, soups, and roasts. But before we talk about how to prepare these delectable roots, let’s learn a bit about them.

Did you know?

  • The botanical name of that radish plant is Raphanus sativus, but the English name ‘radish’ derives from the Latin “radix” for “root,” fitting name for this edible root.
  • While the exact origin of the radish is unknown, it is thought that it originated somewhere on the Eurasian continents, possibly in China.
  • The radish was popular throughout ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. They likely came to the American continent with Columbus and other early explorers.
  • There are several varieties of radishes. The most common in Western cuisine – and most often found in the supermarket – is the round, red variety. At the farmer’s or specialty market, you may also find longer, red radishes that resemble carrots, or watermelon radishes, which are white or light green on the outside and have a surprising pink center.
  • With their Asian roots, it shouldn’t surprise you to find radishes in Asian cooking. One place you might find them: Japanese cuisine, where the Daikon radish – a long, white variety with a mild flavor – is common.
  • Radishes make great plants in a home garden – potted or in-ground. The seeds germinate quickly and the leafy, above-ground parts of the plant appear quickly, offering prompt gratification for hard work!
  • A healthy addition to any meal, radishes are high in water and dietary fiber, so they can help you feel full without adding extra calories (there are 19 calories in 1 cup of sliced radishes). They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium.

And without further adieu here are Oldways ideas for 12 Great Ways to use Radishes!

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