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suzana naturallifestyle 120One of the main characters in the Tom Robbins' witty Jitterbug Perfume names barbarian clans on unidentified territory of Bohemia as a beet and turnip clans. Having a Central-Eastern European background, I couldn't be more amused with luscious author's description of root vegetables which were a staple of the culinary heritage of the whole Eastern European region for centuries. Encouraged by the author's imagination I would happily assemble a radish clan, with the tangy black (Spanish) radish on the pedestal.

In the kingdom of vegetables, root veggies have the most of resilience and preservation qualities. They are robust and hard.  Earthiness harbored in flavor and their capacity to be preserved, made them vegetables of necessity during the cold seasons. If we would just rely on cellars as a storage places for the food, as it was not so long ago, in early spring they would still be our only major plant source of nutrients. Most of them have a sweet or almost blended flavor, but radishes bring spicy and fiery tones to palatable experience as being a real nutritional treat.

The average American might be familiar with red and creamy-white daikon radishes found on the most supermarkets shelves, but black radishes are still harder to find if you don't shop in health food stores or roam farmer's markets.  Hopefully, this well-known folk food and medicine, used in European and Asian cultures, will find its way to more and more American consumers and farm to table projects because of its distinctive peppery flavor and amazing health benefits highly researched in recent years.

suzana blackradish

Black radish (Lat.Raphanus sativus L.var. niger) is the original radish first cultivated in Egypt around 2700 B.C. In various traditions black radish was used to aid digestion, breakdown fats and protein, relieve congestion and sooth rashes and other skin problems.  They were also kidneys and urinary system purifier. In India black radish is called Black Mooli and it used as a liver tonic. In Chinese herbal formulas radish seeds help with cough, asthma and indigestion.

Modern research provides us with all kinds of information about vitamin, mineral and phytochemical goodness harbored in this tangy, crunchy root vegetables. Radishes contain significant amounts of vitamin C, and lesser but good amounts of folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as good amounts of copper, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, and calcium. Black radishes can lower LDL 'bad cholesterol' and triglycerides and have a mighty detoxifying components (four times more than any veggies in brassica family) and antioxidants, both in roots and leaves.

This pungent earthy vegetable is most likely serious candidate for 'superfood' status pretty soon. Its dull black skin is usually peeled before cooking. The root can be steamed, sautéed, or stir fired. Both roots and leaves can be eaten raw in salads or added to sandwiches. Black radish, as is true of any other radish, can be juiced and it combines well with apples and carrots. Favorable action on liver and kidneys encouraged manufacturers of food supplements to launch them on the health food market in powdered form. I suggest you enjoy them as they are, combined with meat and cheese dishes.

suzana blackradishdish

Black radish is gastronomic experience enhanced with sentimental memories of grandma's kitchen from the world far away. Thinly sliced black radishes, garnished with walnuts and drizzled with pumpkin seed oil, seasoned with little salt and pepper were yummy snack in old fashion self-sustainable household. If it wasn't Bohemia it was Pannonia were black radish had been queen of the radish clan for centuries.


Suzana Jelovecki, MS, Licensed Acupuncturist, is the owner of Roots and Branches Acupuncture and Nature Bound Woman
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for in-person consultation with and advice from a health care professional. The dietary, nutritional, lifestyle and other information on this website are not intended to be and do not constitute health care or medical advice
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