Weather Forecast


Beware: A scary bowl of radishes

It was a lovely Sunday dinner with four grandchildren present -- ages 5 to 10. There on the table, minding it's own business, was a bowl of fresh radishes in ice water. Grandfathers are expected to have words of wisdom and advise for their grandchildren, so I offered mine. "Have some radishes," I advised.

The kids gathered around the radish bowl and eyed those radishes like the bowl was filled with eyeballs. They leaned back like something might jump out at them. "What are radishes?" they asked. Still offering wisdom I said "They're vegetables and they're good. Just take one and try it." Nobody moved closer to the bowl. "What do they taste like?" "They're tangy -- crisp, crunchy, tangy and really good." No takers. They were as likely to bite into one of those wonderful red crunchies as they were to bite into a cocklebur. They wouldn't touch them -- too scary.

Where have I failed? Four grandchildren who not only didn't know what a radish is, but they were afraid to try one. I ended up eating most of them myself.

About this time of year, as soon as the frost was out of the ground, my dad was down in the garden planting rows of radishes. One of the beauties of these little gems is that they grow like weeds. The seeds germinate within 3-7 days and there are mature radishes in 3-4 weeks. Dad always got two crops every summer. As a matter of fact, the word radish comes from the Greek and means "quick appearing." At our house they were quick disappearing too. The Spanish work for quick disappearing is vamoose. Because they mature so quickly, they are popular in children's gardens. But my poor, uninformed grandchildren don't know that.

Radishes, members of the mustard family, are called "cruciferous" vegetables and they have received more attention in recent years because of their cancer-fighting qualities -- along with kale, cabbage and broccoli. And not only are they low in calories as well, but they're great for your skin. The kids should learn that before they get to be teens.

If you pay attention to vitamins and minerals, eat radishes for their ascorbic acid, folic acid, potassium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium.

But if taste is your thing and you want a flavor that wakes up your taste buds, eat radishes raw then eat them in vegetable salads, potatoes salads, soup or however you can get them.

But more importantly, avoid the shame of raising children and grandchildren who don't have the faintest notion what a radish looks like, tastes like or even knows that they won't jump out of the bowl and bite you.