The ingredient of the month is Peter Rabbit’s favourite root vegetable Radish. It is very close to home growing such a lovely vegetable at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel.
The origins of the radish are uncertain but they have been eaten in Japan, China and parts of Europe since prehistoric times. Records show they were enjoyed in ancient Egypt and Greece but were not cultivated in Britain until the sixteenth century. Soon afterwards they were introduced to the Americas and are now popular across the globe.
Juicy, crunchy and crisp, UK-grown red radishes add a delightful punchy colour and flavour to dishes. Their peppery taste stimulates the production of saliva and rouses the appetite. Fantastic with aperitifs (especially chilled Fino Sherry) when served with butter and salt on the side: wipe a radish across the butter before dipping it in salt.
Radishes are taken from the roots of Raphanus sativus, a plant related to horseradish, turnip and mustard. There are many varieties, including the red radish, white radish (daikon or mooli - popular in Japan) and black radish.
Radishes contain significant levels of vitamin C. Cruciferous plants, which include radish, broccoli and cabbage, are linked with anti-cancer properties.
The root of a member of the mustard family, radishes have a peppery flavour and a crisp, crunchy texture. Among the most popular varieties are the small, cherry-sized common variety which has a red skin and white flesh (the French Breakfast radish is a variation on this type, and has an elongated shape with a deep pink skin that fades to white at the roots).
You can also find black radishes, popular in eastern Europe, which are more strongly flavoured, as well as large white mooli or diakon radishes, which are shaped like carrots. They are popular in Asian cookery and have a very mild flavour.
Radishes are rich is folic acid and potassium and are a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium.
Radishes are available all year round, though the British season runs from May to mid October. They're extremely easy to grow from seed, whether in an allotment or in a window box. Find out more about growing radishes at Garden Action.
How to choose the best
Go for firm-skinned radishes, with no blemishes. If they feel soft, they are likely to be spongy inside. Any greens still attached should look fresh and perky. The bigger the radish, the less crisp its texture, so avoid larger examples.
How to prepare radish
To increase the crispness of radish, soak them in iced water for a couple of hours. Wash, then chop off the greens, if present, then slice off the root. Leave whole, slice or chop, as required. Always prepare radishes just before using, as they loose their potency when cut. Mooli or daikon radishes can be sliced, diced or grated.
Ideal storage conditions
In a perforated bag in the fridge for around 3-4 days. Always trim the leaves off before storing, as they'll draw moisture from the radish itself. You can keep the radish greens in the fridge, wrapped in moist kitchen paper then stowed in a perforated bag, for a couple of days.
How to serve radish
Common red-skinned: raw in salads. Mooki or daikon: raw or stir-fried (3 minutes). Add radish greens to salads.
The chefs at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel potter down to the greenhouse in the garden and pick the fresh radish and mainly use the radish raw thinly sliced on a mandolin and used as a garnish on two of our dishes, Soused Fillet of Gurnard, Escabeche Vegetables, Sesame Prawn Toast, Rhubarb Gel and Cartmel Valley Oak Smoked Salmon, Smoked Salmon Bon Bon, Fennel & Radish Salad, Cucumber & Dill Sorbet.
It would be lovely to show you around our greenhouse and gardens and even better to taste the fruits of our labour.
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