I’m pretty fond of radishes. I’m not going to suggest that I’d be lost without them, but I do enjoy their texture and flavour (as well as their happy, blushing colour), and usually keep a bunch of them in my fridge. I most often slice them thinly and add them to sandwiches and salads, where they add both crunch and a pleasant, mild peppery taste.
I also enjoy snacking on them, and was recently looking for a recipe suitable to share with others (as an hors d’oeuvres), when I found the fabulous – clearly obsessed and slightly bonkers – Love Radish website. It includes historical information and details about the health benefits of radishes, as well as recipes for cocktails (the Radish Bloody Mary sounds great), ‘detox’ juices and the perfect drink pairings (including cider, sparkling wine, beer, and a fruity pinot noir) for some of their inventive suggestions for preparing, cooking and eating radishes.
For more information (and how could you resist?), have a look yourself. And in the meantime enjoy these selected highlights, as well as the recipe below.
- Radishes were first cultivated in China
- In ancient Greece the radish was so revered that gold replicas were made and offered to the god Apollo
- During the construction of the pyramids in Egypt labourers were paid in radishes (as well as garlic and onions)
- The radish was introduced into Britain in the C16th, and quickly became an institution – even mentioned by Shakespeare: “…when he was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish…” (Henry IV Part II, Act III Scene II)
- Traditional ways of eating radishes include dipping them in salt and / or butter
- A handful of radishes contains 5 calories (I’m pretty sure that’s without the butter)
- The taste of a radish is influenced by the growing conditions – a hot dry season will encourage the peppery ‘bite’. And paler radishes have a stronger flavour
- Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and folic acid, they may help protect against cancer, contribute to healthy digestion and have a low glycemic index
- If you dream that you’re eating a radish it means that your feelings are going to be hurt by someone close to you. If you dream about planting radishes, it means your heart’s desires will be realised
- The Night of the Radishes (Noche de Rábanos) is celebrated annually on December 23rd in Oaxaca, Mexico and is an exhibition / competition of sculptures made completely from radishes
From: Love Radish
Recipe: Avocado, Radish and Watercress with Savoury Crackers
1 small ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g / 2 oz radishes, washed, trimmed and very thinly sliced
½ red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
A few stems of watercress
20 savoury crackers
Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. Scoop out the flesh, place in a small bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spread some of the avocado mix onto a cracker then top with 1-2 radish slices, some red onion and watercress leaves.
Serve immediately (this is important as the relatively wet avocado mixture will start to make the crackers soggy if they’re left to hang around).
Adapted from: Love Radish
Instead of crackers, the original recipe uses thin slices of sourdough bread that have been drizzled in olive oil and placed on a non-stick baking tray in a pre-heated oven (180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4) for 8-10 minutes, until toasted and crispy. They should be removed from the oven and left to cool for 5 minutes before topped with the avocado mix.