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Produce Corner - Black Spanish Radish

  

The Produce Corner is a collaborative column by farmer and Dill Pickle owner Rob Montalbano and Dill Pickle's Produce Lead Buyer, Kristen Martinek. Here Rob shares info on some of his favorite in-season veggies including history, cooking ideas and storage tips. Rob lives and works with his wife Christina on their farm in Sandwich, IL.  Kristen provides additional information including nutritional value & recipes. Outside her work as Produce Lead at the Dill Pickle, Kristen shares her passion for nutrition & natural living on her website “Enjoy This Organic Life”.

My favorite part of farming is growing all of the different colors and shapes of vegetables. At the farmers market, it always brings a smile to my face when someone sees something they’ve never seen before. Of all the colors I see, there is one that stands out. I’m talking about the Black Spanish radish. You should give this one a try.

It’s definitely a larger radish, growing almost 3” round. With a deep black skin and snowy white interior, this radish is built to please. A little spicy, the Spanish radish can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite recipe is Black Slaw. Grate up some radish (leave the skins on for more nutrition and outstanding color!), carrots, cabbage, and some onions. Add one or two tablespoons of lemon juice and oil. Toss with chopped Italian parsley and put in a pinch of salt, sugar, and black pepper too.

Spanish radishes store very well. Wash them, remove the greens (also edible!), and store wrapped in a damp towel or plastic bag in the crisper. The best radishes are crisp and firm but you can continue to enjoy them after they get a little soft, too. -Rob

Radishes always made an appearance in my family’s kitchen growing up, whether it be in salads or as a vehicle for my grandma’s famous ranch dip. Until I signed up for my first CSA while in college almost eight years ago now, I never knew just how many varieties of fruits and vegetables exist in this region. I can remember receiving my first black radish and falling into veggie awe!

Radishes are a great source of vitamin C, iron, potassium & magnesium and provide some vitamin A and E as well. Black radishes have been used in traditional European and Chinese medicine to stimulate bile function, improve health of gallbladder and to promote pulmonary and respiratory health.

Because the black radish has a significantly stronger bite to it, there are a few tricks to reducing the heat for those who prefer less of a punch. One method is to simply peel away the skin; the other is to slice or chop and soak in ice water for 30-45 minutes.

Another great way to enjoy the black Spanish radish is simply by cutting it into ¼” slices and sautéing in butter, olive or coconut oil until tender and spotted with brown. This is great on its own or atop a fresh salad! -Kristen 

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