Vegitales: Black Radish
Black radishes might look like a lump of coal, but they pack a lot more punch! The black radish is an edible root vegetable of the Brassica family. They come in both round and elongated forms, and also go by the names Spanish, Spanish Round, or Gros Noir d’Hiver . Black radishes were domesticated in Europe dating back to 1548, where they were a common garden vegetable. They were quite popular in England and France in the early 19 th century, bit still haven’t manged to conquer the North American palate. They are much larger than standard spring radishes, and have a thick inky-hued skin and hot-flavoured white flesh.
These radishes are pretty serious business, not for the faint of palate. They aren’t hot, so much as really radishy. With their black peels and white interiors, they can be fashioned into attractive garnishes, or you can peel and cook them like turnips.
A fantastic way to try them for the first time is frying them lightly in butter and salt (recipe is included below). Cooking black radishes in this manner affords a meaty texture, something like a steamed potato. The butter mellows the raw radish’s pungency, leaving a tamed radish to savor. Like red radishes, they can be served raw, though it helps to tone them down first by salting and rinsing them. Black radish is typically served shredded with liver and onions, a flavour combination reminiscent of horseradish and roast beef. A great traditional Jewish recipe for black radish is a salad of coarsely shredded black radish, chopped onion, chopped hard-boiled eggs, salt, and a light dressing of chicken drippings.
Vitamin C leads the pack of vitamins and minerals in the black radish, which also contains some vitamins A, E, and B. Other health benefits include staving off infections and damage from free radicals, enhancing digestion and helping to maintain the gallbladder. Juice it with honey and use it as a cold remedy – it’s great for bronchitis.
Black radishes are considered a winter crop and store very well. At home, black radishes can be stored in a plastic bag for 1-2 weeks.