Red RadishWhat’s not to like about this bright, bite-sized, zesty veggie? Radishes are eager to pop up in the Spring – they take only a few weeks to go from seeds to table-ready!

Harvest or shop for radishes that are bright red and approximately 1 inch in diameter, as they will be more tender and crisp with a less pungent flavor. Radishes that are larger or have been left in the ground too long tend to crack and develop a “hotter” flavor that some individuals find unappealing.

No need to peel these little guys – just wash and cut away the tops and root end. You can use them sliced, diced, shredded, or whole! Both summer and winter radishes store well in the refrigerator – just place into a plastic bag and they will keep for about a week, as long as the tops have been removed. Alternatively, you can place sliced or whole washed radishes in a dish of water in the fridge, to help them retain moisture and freshness.

Radishes are low in calories – only 12 calories per ½ cup – but rich in zesty flavor and crunch. One ½ cup serving (that’s approximately 12 medium sliced radishes) provide potassium, vitamin C, folate and fiber.

Usually, radishes are eaten raw, but that’s just one way to enjoy them. Radishes add refreshing crispness and crunch to vegetable and pasta salads, as well as meat, fish, and egg salads and sandwiches. You can use them as hor d’oeuvres or add to the cream cheese on your bagel. There are even larger Chinese and Japanese radish varieties you can use in any recipe that calls for turnips.

Spring and summer radishes are not ideal for freezing, due to their high water content. They can be pickled, however. Refrigerator pickle recipes are widely available and very simple, just chilling radishes overnight in water, salt, vinegar, and sugar before serving. When prepared this way, they keep up to 4 weeks.

Want a great way to enjoy these bite-sized beauties? Check out this recipe for Spring Cottage Salad.

Spring Cottage Salad
Author: Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 8-10 radishes, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • ½ tsp. dried dill
  • ½ tsp. celery seed
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium bow, thoroughly mix all ingredients. Chill for at least 1 hour to “marry” flavors.

For more ideas for radish pickles, sandwiches, salads, and pasta, check out this link.

– Morgan McManimon-Myers, Senior Student in Community-Medical Dietetics

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