Why Radishes Deserve to Be More Than a Garnish

Radishes don't get much attention. Sometimes you find them on a vegetable platter, usually thrown in for some color. Or, the root vegetable may make it onto a salad if it's lucky. And that's about it. In other locales it's a different story. Take the gastro-icon of the world, France. Here, radishes are de rigueur at every market and a common appetizer in the home and restaurants.

Radishes also happen to be one of the easiest vegetables to grow; plant them and three weeks later you've got radishes (a great crop for impatient kids).

Then there are the health benefits. In Asia, radishes are eaten as a digestive aid. The bright root bulbs and their greens are a good source of potassium, vitamins B and C and fiber.

Here's how to grow 'em and eat 'em:

    • Plant. Beautiful deep red radishes can be yours for harvesting in less than a month after sowing the seeds. Start with organic seeds (LINK here to seed story). Try a few different varieties; there are dozens, with names like Cherry Belle, Bunny Tail and French Breakfast. Choose a garden spot that gets at least six hours of daily sunlight. Loosen the dirt with some tilling and plant the seeds according to the directions on the packet.

    • Eat. Radishes add crunch and zip to salads and make a fun snack to dip into a high-quality sea salt (and the French insist on spreading them with a bit of sweet butter to temper their zing). Try mixing some blue cheese into tempered butter as a radish spread as well. Hint: Upon purchasing or harvesting your radishes, clean and trim and keep in refrigerated salt water.