I was so tickled this week to find the most perfect radish ever growing in the middle of one of my rows. It was so healthy, round and gorgeous, my daughter and I joked that it looked like it should have eyes and a mouth like a little veggie cartoon character.
Radish, along with kale and herbs, have been my go-to crops this winter in Texas while waiting for warm weather to arrive. These Brassicaceae beauties are perfect to add to your garden rows when you want an easy cover crop – or if you have kids and want to give them a quick-return on their labor investment! My daughter loves coming out to the garden and hunting for the perfect radish to pull up.
We are currently growing organic, non-GMO Cherry Belle radish and another pink and white variety I can’t remember that’s pictured above in the salad – maybe watermelon radish?
Regardless, my new favorite way to use this crop is in a delicious salad. The recipe is below if you want to jump ahead.
The Skinny on Radishes
The word “radish” comes from the Latin “radix,” meaning “root,” and the Greek word “raphanus,” which translates to “quickly appearing”.  First cultivated in China, radish crops spread into Europe in the 1500s.  Radish was also one of the earliest vegetables brought over to the Americas from Europe. 
In the same family as broccoli, mustard greens, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips and wasabi, radish are well-suited to perform many valuable cover crop functions, such as providing soil cover, scavenging nutrients, suppressing weeds, and alleviating soil compaction, while creating few of the challenges associated with other cover crops. Recent research has also documented the beneficial effects of radish cover crops on soil properties and subsequent crops. 
Used as a folk remedy for centuries, as well as in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, radish have long been utilized for their healing properties. Radish contain potassium, folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, manganese, sodium. 
They are considered beneficial for their anticancer properties and antifungal properties, particularly against candida.  They can be used to help with jaundice, arthritis, as well as to promote heart health and skin health. 
Even though the greens are just as nutritious as the radish itself, we often pull off the greens for our chickens and bring the radish bulb indoors for us. Many people juice their greens for the detoxification and nutrition benefits, so give them a try sometime as well! 
Quick and Easy Radish Salad
1-2 cups of thinly sliced radish
2-3 Tbsp of chopped cilantro leaves (Fresh mint leaves are also a nice alternative option if you don’t love cilantro).
This is an “eyeball” recipe, so don’t get too caught up in measuring. I take a small jelly jar out and combine the following ingredients:
1/2 to 1 tsp Raw Honey
1/4 cup Organic Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of fresh-pressed Garlic
Whisk the dressing ingredients until well combined. Pour over the radish and cilantro.
This recipe is so yummy and really takes the bitter taste out of the radish, especially if you soak them in the dressing 15 minutes or so before serving.
Enjoy and let me know if you try it!
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