Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum ssp.)

A member of the Brassicaceae family - which gives us many of our cultivated veges and condiments - broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choi, radishes, turnips, cress, horseradish, wasabi, mustard, and on the list goes!

Recognise this family by its four-petalled flowers with six stamens. They generally have flower heads that look like little broccoli heads when budding.

Most wild Brassicaceae are edible - but avoid gathering them from places that may have been heavily fertilised or be subject to run-off, as the leaves may be full of nitrates - toxic in high doses.

Family relationships
Wild radish is a different species from that which our cultivated radishes come from (Raphanus sativus), but it is in the same genus, and you can see the similarities in the leaves. (As well as taste them!)

Ways to eat wild radish
 (The information here is the same as for wild turnip, as they are so similar.) 

Edible parts of wild turnip include the leaves (especially the younger, less bitter ones), the flowers, the flower buds, the roots, and the seeds.

Use the leaves just like bok choy leaves.  They lose volume very quickly when cooked though, so you only need to fry or steam them for a few seconds. They lose a lot of their distinctive taste and hotness as they cook too, so that's another reason to keep it to the minimum.

Some young, small roots may be tender enough to cook and eat - give it a go. The larger ones will almost certainly be quite fibrous. They go well in stock though - just like their cultivated counterparts.

You can cook the flower buds like broccoli - but again only for the briefest time.

The flowers are decorative in salad.

To harvest the seeds, gather the seed pods after flowering and spead them out on a plate to dry in the sun. (It should be sunny by the time the pods appear!) As the pods dry, they'll split and release the seeds, which you can then easily separate from the pods and pour into a bowl or jar to store. Use them just like mustard seeds.

(To make mustard paste pound them up with a little liquid. Use vinegar if you want the paste to keep.)
Edible parts of this plant's family are generally the younger leaves, the flower buds, and the roots. Some have seeds that can be made into mustard.

Wild radish links:
Plants for a Future database
Google Images


kimberly said...

Radish contain high amount of water that hidrate the skin. Also contain potassium, vitamin C, calcium etc. That´s why i prefer to eat radish frequently for all benefits that brings to our body. So if you want to increase your welfare begins to eat it.

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