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Stop tossing perfectly good radish leaves? Please?

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

Radishes are a staple in France, where I spend a lot of time (at least pre-COVID). My Auvergnate tante, Jacqueline, brings out a HUGE bowl of brilliant red radishes, a salt cellar, and a HUGE mound of wonderful butter to slather on them. Maybe with a hunk from a crusty baguette ordinaire. That's the way the French eat crunchy radishes. It's so delicious. Oh, la! It's funny to watch the little kids wolf them down ... sometimes with more butter than radish! Sigh. Now that I'm plant-based, the butter part is no more, but I still eat a LOT of radishes.

Another thing the French do is not waste anything. That includes radish tops. I should note that the produce in France, well, can be a lot nicer than it sometimes is here in Reno, Nevada. Bunches of radishes at the Carrefours market in Issoire can look so Instagram worthy as to make a perfect heirloom tomato blush. Wait, can a tomato blush? How would we know?

Radish tops - when they're good - make their way into my salads just as they do in France. Slightly bitter, vegetal and so delicious. But, you must wash the tops well. Radishes just come with a lot of sand in them. I wash them, as I do lettuce and other greens, in the basin that comes with my salad spinner. Rinse a couple of times. Then, spin like you mean it. I store the tops and washed, dried off radishes together.

Before you can wash the tops, you must twist off the radishes and set them aside. Then, pick out the yellowed so-so leaves and discard to the compost bin. Spin to 'dry'.

Now, turn your attention to the radishes. Rinse them well, and be sure to clean off dirt.

Drain them, and I give them a bit of extra drying with a kitchen towel before storing them.

As I mentioned, simply store them with the tops in a spinner or similar produce storage container. Don't ever store radishes in water. I've seen people do that. It just water-logs the radish and they can get slimy. Who wants that!

I will usually put just a bit of water down in the bottom of the spinner to keep everything hydrated without being immersed in water. A plastic 'shower cap' type bowl cover does the job. I keep the spinner tops - I have more than one spinner - separately.

Don't let a salad go to the table without tossing in a few radish tops! They play so nicely with sliced pears and apples, too! Or, use them in a melange of cooked/sautéed greens, or as a stand-in for parsley.

Oh, and BTW did you know that the radishes are delicious braised, with a bit of wine, and some Bonnes Herbes?

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