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Dining In: Radishes are not for the faint of heart

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Pretty to look at but with a peppery bite, radishes are in season, and their high amounts of vitamin C, potassium and folate make them a vegetable worth getting to know.

They are an acquired taste, and not for the faint of heart. Related to the even spicier horseradish and wasabi, they are a natural decongestant, which makes them great when you’re feeling stuffed up. The larger a radish grows, the spicier it is likely to become, so if you don’t like a lot of heat, choose the smallest ones.

Right now radishes are one of the brightest vegetables at local farmers markets, since many farmers opt to grow red varieties. Black and white varieties also are available.

Breakfast radishes are less spicy, and history tells us they got their name because they were regularly served for breakfast by the American Colonists, who enjoyed them with salt and butter.

Radishes were first cultivated in China and Egypt, reaching Europe by the 1500s. They had traveled to Massachusetts by 1629. A cup of radishes has only 19 calories.

Here in the United States we are most likely to eat our radishes in salads or add them to a crudité tray so they can be dipped. They also can be cooked and pickled or served thinly sliced on a slice of buttered rye bread as an appetizer or tea sandwich. When ground up, they also make a good addition to rice or vegan “burgers.”

One way to calm the heat in a radish is too cook it; this paleo recipe comes from wickedspatula.com.

Baked Roasted Radishes Recipe

2 pounds radishes, trimmed and
halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (plus more
to taste when done)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Toss radishes with olive oil and spices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure each radish touches the pan.
3. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and crispy.
4. Season with extra salt and pepper to taste.

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