Radish leaves are edible

Radish Top Soup

1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 medium potatoes, sliced
4 cups radish greens
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
5 radishes, sliced, for garnish

Saute onion in butter over medium heat until tender. Add potatoes and radish greens, stirring to coat with butter. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and blend until smooth (depending on the size of your blender, you may need to work in batches). Return to saucepan and stir in cream. Reheat, stirring, until well blended; do not boil. Top with radish slices.

Adapted from Mother Nature Network

Radish Leaf Pesto

2 large handsful fresh radish leaves, stems removed
30 grams (1 ounce) grated or shaved hard cheese such as pecorino or parmesan
30 grams (1 ounce) nuts such as pistachios, almonds, or pinenuts (walnuts are not recommended, the result is bitter)
1 clove garlic, germ removed, quartered
a short ribbon of lemon zest, without pith (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for consistency
ground chili pepper

Pulse in a food processor or blender until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Add more oil and pulse to mix until desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings and store in an airtight container. Use or freeze within a few days.

Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

More radish and radish top recipes:
Radishes with creamy ricotta
Buttered Leeks and Radishes

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 7 July, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 7 July, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
I wanted to give you a recipe for tah tsoi this week, but all I managed to find was that it’s related to mustard. (If you have a good tah tsoi recipe you’re willing to share, please send it along.) So as my deadline loomed, I desperately swiped this interesting but non-tah tsoi soup from Kirsop’s recipes:

Radish Top Soup
3-4 Tablespoons butter, divided
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup chopped onions or leeks salt
8 cups loosely packed radish leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 cups diced peeled potatoes freshly ground pepper
Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in large saucepan, add onions, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in radish tops, cover and cook over low heat until wilted, 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook potatoes until soft in water or stock with 1 tsp. Salt. Combine with radish tops and cook, covered, 5 minutes to mingle flavors. Puree in food processor or blender. Add cream and remaining butter, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. (Note: to serve cold, omit butter enrichment.) Makes 4-6 servings.

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Newsletters: 8 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 8 June, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners say this is the time to plant fall perennials such as asters and chrysanthemums, and the second round of early greens. The watering season begins in June, usually about a week and a half before I realize it (which is why I shop at the Farmers’ Market instead of trying to grow my own).

In the kitchen
Radishes are also in season now, so I thought I’d see if I could find something interesting to do with them. Epicurious was happy to oblige.

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Radish Tops
about 20 medium radishes
1.5 Tbsp. olive oil + extra to brush baking sheet
Coarse kosher salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Trim radishes of all but 1/2 inch of tops; wash trimmed tops thoroughly; chop coarsely. Cut radishes in half lengthwise; add 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil and toss thoroughly to coat. Place cut side down on a large rimmed baking sheet brushed with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast at 450F until radishes are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and adjust seasonings. Melt butter over medium-high heat; add pinch of coarse kosher salt and cook until butter browns, swirling frequently, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice. Drizzle over roasted radishes; sprinkle with chopped radish tops and serve.
From: Bon Appétit, April 2011

Chilled Radish Buttermilk Soup
1/2 lb (1 1/4 c) radishes, trimmed and quartered
3/4 lb (2 c) seedless cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 c chilled buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
Purée all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and radish, if desired.
From: Gourmet, August 2006

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Medieval mixed pickles

In recreationist circles, this dish is often called by its amusing medieval name, Compost.

2 lb. total parsley roots, carrots, radishes, and turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. white cabbage, cored and shredded
1 lb. hard pears, peeled, cored, and cut up
6 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
2 cups white wine vinegar (divided)
2 oz. currants
2 1/2 cups fruity white wine
6 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. French mustard
1/8 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. each anise and fennel seeds
2 oz. sugar

Bring root vegetables and cabbage to a boil, add pears, and cook until they start to soften. Drain and spread vegetables in a 2-inch layer in a shallow non-metallic dish. Sprinkle with salt, ginger, saffron, and 4 Tbsp. of the vinegar, cover, and let sit 12 hours.

Rinse well and add the currants, then pack into sterilized canning jars, leaving at least 1 inch headspace. Bring wine and honey to a simmer, skim, and add the rest of the vinegar, mustard, cinnamon, pepper, anise, fennel seeds, and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over vegetables, covering them with 1/2 inch of liquid. Close with vinegar-proof seals and store.

From: Black, Maggie, The Medieval Cookbook. British Museum Press, 1992. ISBN: 0714105562

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.


native to: probably originated in mainland China
in season here: year-round
Radishes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, from the mild white daikon to the peppery black Spanish radish. They’re low in cholesterol and high in nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and potassium. A lot of the calories in a radish come from sugars, but there aren’t that many calories in there so this probably isn’t the place to worry about it.

The sharp, pungent flavor of radish comes from an isothiocyanate compound called sulforaphane, which is an anti-oxidant that (studies suggest) prevents a bunch of different cancers by inhibiting cancer cell growth and even killing cancer cells. They also contain indoles, which are detoxifying agents, and zea-xanthin, lutein and beta carotene, which are flavonoids — more antioxidants! On top of that, there are the more familiar vitamins C, B6, riboflavin, and thiamin, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium.

Historical Chinese sources mention radishes as early as 2,700 B.C. and they were cultivated in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, where they were served with honey and vinegar.

In Britain, radishes were used to treat kidney stones, bad skin, and intestinal worms. Modern-day medicinal uses include soothing skin disorders as well as regulating blood pressure and relieving respiratory problems. They’re also useful for their antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties.

Radish greens can also be eaten, and there is a variety of radish that is grown for its edible pods as well. Because they grow so quickly, radishes are a great choice for planting in a child’s first garden.

Read more:
Label-style nutrition summary
More about radish nutrition, including a caution for people with thyroid issues
Nutrition and medicinal uses

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.