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Radishes


Radishes

Varieties

Radishes, a member of the mustard family, brassicas, are cool season vegetables and taste best when grown in cool weather. The red radish is grown for it's taproot: a small, scarlet globe with a crisp and peppery, translucent, white flesh. Their taproots range in diameter from one to three inches. The radish produces leaves that grow from the taproot above ground, which are also edible. They have the texture of watercress and a bit of its flavor, but with a great mustardy bite as well.

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Storage

For storage, always cut off the green tops, leaving about one quarter inch on top of the radish. The greens, which boast the majority of the nutritional value of radishes, can be sauteed or braised along with other greens. They should be eaten right away. Radish roots are fine in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Before cooking, radishes need to be rinsed in cold water, and the tips should be trimmed. After that, they are ready to be enjoyed. Because of their spicy, bright flavor, they enhance most dishes. Slice them raw and add to green salads, pasta salads, or even tuna salad.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Radishes, like other cruciferous vegetables, are high in vitamin C, which is the primary cancer-preventing antioxidant agent. One cup of the root supplies twenty-five percent of the daily recommended amount. Radish greens have six times the amount of vitamin C found in the root, as well as a significant amount of calcium, iron, and thiamine. These vegetables are also good sources of folic acid, potassium, and the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum is thought to be involved in nervous system development, kidney function, and energy production at the cellular level.

Radishes have traditionally been eaten for constipation; this is because they supply a high amount of indigestible carbohydrates, otherwise known as roughage. Partially due to their potassium content, and as a mild diuretic, radishes are helpful for kidney and urinary tract health. The health benefits of radishes also include aiding in digestion and liver health because of the presence of sulfur-based phytochemicals which stimulate bile secretion. The glucosinolates, which are found in all cruciferous vegetables, are believed to be the main anticarcinogenic agents in these foods.

Radishes are also a wonderful food for weight loss. Eating radishes actually makes you feel full because they are high in roughage and water. If you are on a diet, the high nutritional content, combined with the low calories, makes radishes excellent additions to light foods that could use the extra kick.

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How it is grown and when it is in season

The “hotness” of radishes results from the length of time they have grown. Radishes that grow too slowly, are heat and moisture stressed, or are very old are often “hot.” Old radishes will also generally split, so it is best to harvest them when they are younger.

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