04 April 2013

Radishes: Love ‘Em and Leaf ‘Em

From  Debra Meadow, NTP, CGP at Blue Raven WellnessRadish_tops

Radishes.  For most of my life, I’ve thought of them as the red on the color spectrum – right between carrots and purple peppers – that is the ubiquitous raw veggie platter.  I like to eat them plain, maybe sprinkled with a little sea salt and they’re often an afterthought in a tossed salad.  For all those decades, I’ve been wasting half the bunch of radishes.  I’m talking about the top half.  The greens.  What was I thinking?  Me, who washes out produce bags and uses them over and over, who swishes water or broth around the inside of the tomato sauce can to get out every last drop.  I was tossing out perfectly good, fresh, not to mention exceedingly nutritious, vegetables!

Grocery store radishes often have tops that look like they’ve been around the block a few times, so now’s a good time to investigate radishes at the farmers market.  If you have even the smallest garden, radishes are just about the easiest crop to grow as they’re tolerant of our cool, wet springs.

Here’s a super simple recipe that uses almost the entire radish plant.  It’s flavored with ume plum vinegar, which is available in well-stocked natural foods markets.  Ume plum vinegar is a by-product of the umeboshi-making process.  Umeboshi are those salty and sour pickles served with Japanese food that look like wizened cherries.  The brine left after they’re fermented, or pickled, is salty, sour and a lovely pink color.  It’s also good sprinkled over steamed vegetables, sautéed greens or rice.  I recommend the Eden brand, available in natural foods stores, as it’s free of artificial colors and flavors.

Enjoy spring radishes, from top to bottomRadishes

Double Radish Salad

1 cup sliced radishes

1 cup shredded radish leaves

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar

1 teaspoon raw honey

In a medium bowl, toss radish slices and radish leaves.  In a small bowl whisk olive oil, umeboshi vinegar and honey until well-blended.  Pour dressing over radish mixture and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.