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21 Feb

Smart Fuel: Radishes

Love radishes? Turns out you’re not alone. In fact, radishes were once so prized in Greece that they were immortalized in gold!

Although we certainly appreciate the radish’s beauty – often attacking them with a few skillfully placed knife slices to create a beautiful rose garnish for dress-to-impress dishes – this cruciferous vegetable is held in higher esteem today for its health benefits.

Specifically, radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, packing about 30% of the recommended daily allowance per one cup serving. In addition to shoring up the immune system, vitamin C has been found to reduce asthma symptoms among pediatric patients as well as a decrease susceptibility to bruising and other forms of inflammation. Other beneficial nutrients found in radishes include potassium, which can reduce the risk of kidney stones, folate and magnesium. Finally, radishes contain a number of sulfur-based chemicals that increase the flow of bile, helping to improve digestion and maintain a healthy gallbladder and liver.

Radishes – which are available year-round, but peak between June and September – are available in a number of varieties, with colors ranging from purple to white and varying in taste from mild to downright peppery – a taste that you can blame on its ties to the mustard plant. However, in the U.S. we are most familiar with the red-skinned variety, which is comparable in appearance to a cherry tomato with a tuft of green leaves (which are also edible – and actually pack six times the amount of vitamin C as the bulb!).

To select a radish, look for firm, compact bulbs with an unblemished exterior and bright, healthy looking leaves. To use, wash and trim radishes and then soak in ice water for an hour or two to soften slightly. The radishes can then be sliced and added to salads, roasted whole for inclusion in casseroles or stir-fry, or even used to spice up a simple salsa!

gonemissing Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

More Smart Fuel

Almost Vegetarian: Radishes and Old Recipes

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  1. I love the pepperiness (is that a word!) of radishes. Good to know they are good for you too! They are a great addition to salads.

    Theresa wrote on February 21st, 2008
  2. I got this idea from someone else (can’t remember who, sorry), but radishes are absolutely delicious cut into chunks and fried like homefries! They have a little more water than potatoes, so they don’t get quite as crispy, but they do caramelize a bit. People who eat dairy products should definitely cook them in butter rather than oil, because cooked radishes and butter are made for each other.

    Actually, raw radishes are nice with soft butter, too, and plenty of good salt.

    Migraineur wrote on February 21st, 2008
  3. great steamed too, always sweet then!

    sarena wrote on February 21st, 2008
  4. Throw radishes in with fresh broccoli and cauliflower for a low calorie snack!

    Donna wrote on February 21st, 2008
  5. Donna –

    I brought a tupperware container full of broccoli, cauliflower and radishes to work today. No joke. Great minds… 😉

    Aaron wrote on February 21st, 2008
  6. The comment about various ones reminds me of icicle radishes we saw at the grocery store last winter. When we were putting together a vegetable tray for a Christmas party, they were already gone and they weren’t around this year. They would have made such a lovely offering on it. But they are so tasty, particularly when used to scoop up some hummus! I’ve never tried steaming them (I think I’ve tried that with every other vegetable known to mankind); I’ll add that to my list!

    Katie wrote on February 21st, 2008
  7. Aaron,
    Cool! That is one of my favorite snacks, i’m always munching on that,love it!

    Donna wrote on February 21st, 2008
  8. Yes, great and crunchy…low calorie and satisfies my sweet tooth as Non-insuline dependent diabetic…I pop a half dozen and include them as daytime snacks too..dittos always munching on them

    Steve wrote on August 13th, 2008
  9. I always wondered if the green leaves of the radish were edible or not. Now I know my answer… thanks Mark!

    Primal Toad wrote on July 23rd, 2010
  10. In the article, you reference radishes containing 30 percent of the “recommended daily value” for Vitamin C. Who established the daily values? Doesn’t the same organization establish the daily values for grains, etc. that are not in accordance with the Primal lifestyle?

    New to Primal wrote on November 23rd, 2012
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  12. I’m not the biggest fan of radishes, mainly because I haven’t sampled much more than the rogue slices in a salad. I’ll have to try frying them and steaming them though.

    Good question, New to Primal.

    Curtis wrote on February 25th, 2014
  13. They are also delicious when lacto-fermented with a bay leaf and some other spices!

    cindi wrote on August 24th, 2014

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