Radishes

Radishes are commonly found at farmer’s markets, CSAs and farm stands, as well as in many home gardens.  Radishes grow very quickly and are often one of the first vegetables to become available.  Besides bringing some spice and crunch to spring offerings, radishes are very low in calories, a good source of vitamin C and isothiocyanates, a type of phytochemical which neutralizes carcinogens in the body and helps reduce your risk for certain types of cancer.

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Even if you enjoy radishes raw in salads, you may find it hard to use lots of radishes.  A very easy way to mix up your regular radish routine is to make a quick pickle with sliced radishes.  Simply clean and slice your favorite type of radish and add them to a whisked vinegar and sugar mixture, allow to sit for 1/2 to 1 hour and enjoy!  A good variation is 3 parts red wine vinegar to 1 part sugar with cherry belles or french breakfast radishes.  They will be pink, with a slightly spicy and sweet pickle flavor.   Watch for a “10 Tips for Using Radishes” fact sheet coming soon.

Rinse your greens!

salad spinnerThe season is off to a slow start due to weather, but most farms have greens available now.  Greens, both lettuces and hardier greens are full of nutrition and very low in calories.  Farms vary in their washing equipment, so some greens are cleaner than others when you buy them.  Since greens, especially lettuces grow so close to the soil it is easy for them to get dirty, especially with the recent downpours which would splatter mud onto the plants.

Rinsing your greens is easy and really a must, a gritty salad is unappetizing and soil naturally carries bacteria.  It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

  1. Submerge your greens.  This allows the soil to loosen.
  2. Rinse your greens.  Wash off the soil you have loosened.  If the greens were visibly dirty, rinse a few times.
  3. Dry your greens.  You can do this with a clean dish towel or a spinner.  The greens will last longer and hold onto dressing better if they are dry.

Tip: Invest in a salad spinner!  You can find them for $10 new, but check garage sales and thrift shops for an even better deal.  I prefer one with no drainage on the outer base, so I can soak, spin and dry the greens in one container.