Radish (Raphanus sativus)

The radish is one of the first recorded cultivated vegetables. In China there are records of radishes being grown as early as 700 BCE and these humble little root crops were also favorites of the Egyptian pharaohs.
The name "radish” comes from the Latin, radix, which means a root. The first portion of their species name, Raphanus, in Greek translates to "quickly appearing”, which you will find is very apt once you start to grow these delightful vegetables. Indeed the very rapidity of their growth makes radishes a wonderful way to get children involved in gardening because the rewards for their efforts are almost instantaneous.
Radishes are not exactly nutritional powerhouses but they are a good source of vitamin C, and make a tasty appetizer or salad ingredient. Used in succession planting, radishes are very easy to cultivate and can be grown i n any part of the country if planted at the proper time. They are frequently used to mark rows in the garden because of their quick germination and rapid growth. Radish seed is often mixed with slow-germinating beet seed so that the radishes will mark the beet row.
The most popular part for eating is the root, although the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leaf vegetable. The bulb of the radish is usually eaten raw. Most often in salads but tougher specimens can be steamed. The raw Flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery Flavor that is caused by chewing this action combines substances called glucosinolates in the radish with the enzyme myrosinase. which when brought together Form allyl -isothiocyanates, also present in mustard, horseradish and wasabi.
Your healing radish
Radishes (the root) are rich in ascorbic acid. Folic acid and potassium. They are a goodsource of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium. In addition, they are very low in calories. One cup of sliced radish bulbs provides approximately 20 calories or less, coming largely From carbohydrates, making radishes, relative to their size, an extremely filling food for their caloric value. The fact that you can fill up on radish without consuming too many calories has led to them being recommended for weight- loss programs.
While radish has not been extensively studied in recent times it does have a traditional reputation as being able to treat liver disorders. It does this primarily by stimulating the Row of bile and because of this action it also has a reputation as a "detoxifier" In Europe there has been a long-standing use for radish juice. This is simply the juice that is expressed from fresh chopped radish and it has been used for centuries to treat cough, arthritis and gall bladder problems. The method of taking it has been to combine the juice in equal parts with honey. There is no hard, dinicalevidence that radish will work in this way but years and years of use suggest there may be something to it.
When it comes to eating, if your radish lacks a bit of zing you can make it crisper by soaking it in ice-water for a couple of hours. The young, green radish seed pods may be used for pickling, alone or with other vegetables, and are considered a fair substitute for capers.
The seeds of the radish can be pressed to extract seed oil. Wild radish seeds contain up to 48 per cent oil content, and while not suitable for human consumption the oil has promise as a source of biofuel. There could be a big future for the humble radish

Grow Your Radish
When to plant: Seeds can be planted pretty much all year. Sow directly and thin as appropriate.
Climate: Grows in all climatic conditions.

Aspect/placement: Sunny well-drained position.
Specific needs: Radishes are a hardy crop that suit most climates, soil types and even tolerate light frosts. In very hot conditions they are prone to bolting to Rower and seed. Select season appropriate varieties and sow small lots every few weeks to ensure a successive harvest. Keep them well-watered to prevent roots splitting and to improve the taste. Try in pots too.

Companion planting: Lettuce, carrot.
Harvesting:  Radishes are quick growers and can be ready for harvest in just three weeks. Thinning crop — to about 3-5cm spacing — is a good way to start harvest and allows room for the others to grow. They taste better when young and tender. Pick the young leaves, Rowers and pods for salads too.

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