A new feature here at Fordhall Farm is our “Spotlight on Seasonal Vegetables”. Every 2 weeks we will be picking a seasonal locally produced vegetable and showcasing it on our menu at Arthur’s Farm Kitchen in a variety of recipes developed by Chef Richard. Along with this we will be providing you, our supporters, and followers, with the low-down on the veg in terms of nutritional facts and health benefits to help enable you to make healthier choices when shopping. For our local customers we will also be providing an easy to follow recipe when they purchase the Spotlighted Veg in the farm shop and for our supporters further afield we will be proving a recipe on our website and on our social media channels as a way of sharing our love of the vegetable and saying Thank you for your support!
The first vegetable that we are showcasing is the Rainbow Radish. Did you know that the Rainbow Radish is part of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family alongside other amazing vegetables and herbs such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, watercress and some 300 + other genre. They are so named Cruciferae because their flowers resemble crosses and apparently, radishes can be dated back to the times of Ancient Greeks and Romans as text from this period has been found about them!
We generally recognise radishes as the small red/pink cherry sized root vegetable, with a peppery taste but there are numerous varieties with different sizes, colours and tastes from the Daikon white radish which is grown mainly in Asia and we often find in Japanese cuisine as a pickled vegetable to the Horseradish which has a very fiery taste and we associate as a condiment to have alongside roast beef.
We too often associate the rainbow radish as an addition to a salad, as a garnish on a plate of food or as a carved display on a celebratory food table, but we shouldn’t forget that the humble rainbow radish can be included in a wide variety of dishes and also packs a big nutritional punch for such a small vegetable.
Firstly, the rainbow radish is an alkalising food, which means that it helps to keep the bodies PH balance in check. Having a balanced PH level is said to be essential for helping to support a healthy immune system to fight off potential pathogens and disease in the body.
The rainbow radish is also a great source of Vitamin C containing about 17.2 milligrams per 100g serving, which is about 29 percent of our daily Vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C has many important uses in the body from helping to produce collagen (needed for healthy bones, skin, cartilage, and gut) to building a strong immune system and supporting a healthy heart. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant so may help to slow down cell damage seen through free radical exposure – from things such as environmental pollutants, stress and medications.
Radishes contain a good amount of dietary fibre which has many benefits for a healthy body. It helps to support a healthy digestion and remove waste quickly through the body, it can slow the absorption of sugar from our diets and help improve blood sugar levels and it is said to be heart protective and maybe beneficial in lowering the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in our bodies by supporting our liver to make more HDL (good cholesterol).
Our skin will also benefit from the inclusion of rainbow radish in our diets because the B vitamins, zinc and phosphorus found in the vegetable along with Vitamin C are essential for supporting and healing damaged or aging skin. Alongside skin support – the B vitamins are beneficial in helping to balance our hormones, support our mood health and increase our energy production.
Last, but not least, Rainbow Radish contain a really good amount of magnesium which may help support hundreds of different functions in the body from helping us relax and get a good night’s sleep to aiding in the reduction of pain and inflammation in the body and strengthening our bones and supporting them from osteoarthritis.
Maybe we should be celebrating this underutilised vegetable a bit more? We could always follow in the footsteps of the Mexican’s as they hold an annual event on December 23rd in Oaxaca, Mexico, dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes as a way of honoring the vegetable called Noche de Rábanos (The Night of the Radishes). Doesn’t this sound wonderful.
Kate Bevan Wood dip CNM, mBANT, CNHC
Registered Nutritional Therapist and Resident Nutritional Therapist at Fordhall Farm.