Radishes are a popular vegetable added to salads. When crisp, they are extremely tasty, and often help to add that little extra bite to the rest of the salad vegetables. They can also be added to all sorts of other dishes.
How much do you actually know about radishes? For example, did you know that they come in various shapes and sizes? You likely think of the small red circular options when you initially hear about them.
Well, it’s time to find out everything you can about these delicious and beneficial vegetables. Here’s everything you should know about eating, growing, and benefiting from them.
Most Commonly Red or Purple
Radishes in the stores are usually bright red or pink in colour. They tend to be small and round, usually with the stems cut off. They’re often ready to eat, but this is definitely not the way they come when they are grown.
Radishes are usually purple or red in colour when you buy them in the stores, but they can actually grow in all sorts of different colours. During the summer, they can also grow golden or white.
And not all radishes are going to be round. Many of them have a bulb shape, which will often include a slight tail at the end. You can hold them from the tail upright to make them look like a light bulb, which is where they get their shape name from. But you can also get them in longer, thinner versions.
It really depends on the type of radish you find. Cool radishes are the most commonly bought in the store, but there are Oriental and red-tail versions available. The type that you get will depend on the types of dishes you want to make and the way you want to use them.
It’s Not Just the Radish that’s Edible
You can eat the whole part of the radish, and not just the most commonly bought part. Yes, that means you can eat any of the seeds and the stems. Many people will cook the stems to get rid of the bitterness, and they’re great with other green veggies, like kale and spinach. You can even put them into your green smoothies to get all the health benefits from them.
The seed pods can eat, whatever type of radish you eat. However, if you want to grow your own, then it is best to keep hold of the seed pods. You can plenty them and get radishes throughout the year for your own dietary needs.
Saving the seed for planting is very easy, but you will only find one per radish in the majority of cases. The great news is that radish seeds will cross-pollinate with anything at all, whether domesticated or wild. If you do want to avoid cross-pollination, then you need to separate your radishes by at least ½ a mile, which isn’t always possible. This isn’t just for your own garden but those around you!
Growing Radishes Is Quick and Easy
As mentioned, radishes are extremely easy to grow. In fact, they are the easiest of all vegetables to grow and the quickest. Children will love planting them with you and developing their green thumbs.
It takes around a month for radishes to grow from the seeds. Yes, only a month to get the delicious vegetables, so kids get to see the product of their hard work right away. Once they have matured, you’ll want to pick them right away because they don’t last long afterwards. This is one of the biggest downsides.
You will need to make sure your garden is prepared properly to help promote the growth of your radishes. You’ll need an inch of compost that has aged well before planting, with soil that is light and sandy preferably. Most gardens will be just right for these vegetables. Try to space the radishes two inches or so apart, so they have room for the roots to grow.
The best time to plant is the middle of spring, but you can plant weekly into the early summer months. You will need to consider watering needs, so make sure you’re around daily to help them grow. Let the kids get involved with the watering, because they do need plenty to avoid becoming too bitter.
If you’re planting other vegetables with your radishes, watch out for the type that you put together. Radishes don’t play well with tomatoes and squashes. The best options include peas, lettuces, cauliflowers, cabbages, and cucumbers.
Once you’ve harvested your radishes, put them in the fridge to store. They will only last around a week.
The more radishes you plant together, the better. They really do need plenty of cross-pollination from insects to make sure they grow fully.
Eating Radishes to Benefit from the Tastes
There is a spicy bite to the majority of radishes, so they are an acquired taste. They do work extremely well with vegetable platters or salads, although not everyone will like to eat them raw.
It is possible to pickle your radishes instead. Try doing that with a sweet and sour style pickle to really benefit from the spicy tastes. You just have to mix the radish with some onions, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and oil to get this sweet and sour pickle. You can eat them raw straight out of the pickle if you’d like!
If you want to balance the spicy taste in the radishes, try serving them with some type of cheese. Cottage or ricotta cheese tend to work the best, but you can also opt for feta or other crumbly cheeses. The alkaline elements in the cheese can also help to balance the acidic elements in the radish to protect your teeth!
Radishes also work very well thinly sliced and placed into sandwiches. Replace any red onion that you were going to add the radishes, especially in cheese, avocado, and meat sandwiches.
Why You Need to Eat Radishes Daily
Now that you know about growing and eating them, it’s time to look at why you should bother with them. This is one of those vegetables that you should eat daily to get all the health benefits. You won’t regret it.
Support Your Liver Health
One of the biggest benefits is to your liver health. Radishes help to detoxify the whole body, which means the liver and kidneys don’t have to d as much work. Your blood is already eliminated of the waste so your liver can work on other functions that it needs to do.
If you suffer from jaundice, which is where you will have a yellow tint to your skin and eyes, you should eat more radishes. They will help to remove the bilirubin from your body, keeping the production of this element stable within the body. Your jaundice can also lead to the destruction of the red blood cells in the body, which is something the radishes will help to prevent.
More red blood cells will also support the liver. The red blood cells spread the oxygen around the body, which helps to support every single organ in the body.
The best option for liver support is the black radish. The leaves are extremely beneficial for this need.
Support Your Digestive Function
Radishes are full of indigestible carbohydrates. Don’t worry, because this isn’t a bad thing when it comes to your digestive system. The carbohydrates help to push waste through your system, helping to facilitate the whole process and force the waste out of the body. Constipation and piles become a thing of the past.
If you have any symptoms of piles, you will find that they no longer affect you. The best way to get rid of these symptoms and support your digestive system is to drink radish juice or smoothies. You can blend the whole radish together to help push all the waste through.
Another way that the digestive system is supported is through the fibre in the vegetable. Like the carbohydrates, the fibre will push waste through but also protect the lining of the intestines and colon. You’ll find less wear and tear to your organs, lead to less water retention and pain.
No More Urinary Infections
If you’re struggling with urinary tract infections or disorders, you’ll want to add some radishes to your diet. The vegetable is a diuretic, which means that it will help you urinate more frequently throughout the day. Your kidneys and bladder are supported, so you don’t have a build up of calcium, leading to kidney stones.
You’re at a lower risk of infection when you frequently urinate throughout the day. There’s no toxin build-up, which is often the cause for the infections to appear.
Drinking radish juice is an excellent way to support your kidney and bladder health. Try drinking both radish and cranberry juice because they both have similar benefits.
Support Your Weight Loss Efforts
If you’re trying to lose weight, then radishes will definitely help. Let’s just consider the above benefits first. You’re getting the toxins out of the system and supporting the digestive system. Your body can use up far more calories throughout the day, and you won’t have to deal with water retention causing the scales to lie.
At the same time, radishes are low in calories but extremely filling. This is where the fibre also plays a part, along with the indigestible carbohydrates. They both break down in the body slowly, so you feel like you’ve eaten far more than you actually have. You eat less, so you consume fewer calories throughout the day. And you’re already eating fewer calories by opting for radishes instead of something like more meat or processed food.
The best way to support your weight loss efforts is by eating the radishes in full. The process of chewing helps you burn more calories and will make you consume the vegetables slower than through drinking. Your stomach has the chance to tell your brain that you’re full. If you do drink your radishes, opt for blending the full vegetable. Juicing will remove the fibre, so you end up consuming more sugars. When you blend the full fruit, there is still the ability to tell your brain that you’re full.
Reduce Your Risk of Type II Diabetes
Remember that fact about sugars? Well, radishes are naturally lower in sugars than many other fruits and vegetables. This is great considering there is a slightly sweet taste to them. They are lower on the glycemic index, which is great for those worried about Type II diabetes or already diabetics.
Sugars, even natural ones, will enter the blood stream and cause a rise in glucose. When you get this, your body will need to release more insulin. Over time your body gets used to the amount of insulin in it and becomes resistant to the insulin. You’re left requiring more to do the same job as before.
Keeping your sugar levels low will help to reduce this. Carbohydrates get a bad reputation for sugaring in the body, but the indigestible carbs in the radishes won’t cause this glucose rise problem. The carbohydrates break down slowly, so the sugars don’t enter the blood stream as much.
If you juice your radishes, then you will need to watch for the amount that you drink. Juicing will remove the fibre, so the sugars will enter the blood stream and can cause a risk of Type II diabetes.
It’s Time to Add Radishes to Your Diet
That’s all you need to know about this delicious vegetable. It really is one to start adding to your diet to take advantage of all the health benefits mentioned. If you’re thinking about planting your own veggies, this is one to start with. It is the easiest, and you’ll reap your rewards in the shortest time possible. Kids absolutely love helping to grow vegetables, and they’re more likely to eat them because they’ve put the work in. Help them get into this with radishes.