Radishes can do more than garnish a crudites platter. Their crunchy texture and zingy flavor make them a welcome addition to creamy, salty or sweet dishes. Plus, they become beautifully mellow, nutty and sweet when roasted.
Choose radishes that are firm and brightly colored. If possible, buy radishes that have the tops still attached. The tops should be fresh looking, like any other leafy green vegetable, without wilting or browning. Even though the tops are regularly discarded, they are completely edible and ultra nutritious. Toss them in with other greens to add a zip to your salad or saute them as you would spinach.
When you get those lovely little radishes home from the farmers' market or grocery store, chop off their tops right away. You'll want to store them separately from the bulb or root of the radish. It is important to remove the tops since they suck out the moisture from the bulbs, which will hasten the drying and shriveling of your lovely red gems. Do not wash either the tops nor the bulbs until you are ready to use them and store them separately in the refrigerator in sealed plastic bags.
Summer radishes are at their seasonal peak right now, when they tend to be sweet and tender. Later in the summer, they tend to develop more bitterness. So now is the time to enjoy this all-too-often overlooked vegetable.
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