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How to cook radish greens
Radishes are often sold with their leaves intact to preserve the freshness of the root. Most people just cut the tops off and toss them out, but what they are really throwing away may be just as healthful as the roots themselves.
Radish greens are commonly eaten in Asia, where they even have cultivars grown just for their tops. These greens are not as tender as cooked spinach, but they do cook rather quickly and have a fairly mild flavor.
Preparing the leaves for cooking:
Most radishes in the supermarket that are sold in bunches have small tops that are still young and tender. These are ideal for cooking, but the larger tops of winter radishes and larger spring radishes can still be used if you are eating these types of radish.
To prepare, start by removing the lower stems of the greens. The larger the leaves, the more stem that should be removed, as they are usually a little too fibrous to eat. For very large greens, you may have to remove the bottom 1/4 of the tops, which are usually mostly stem anyways.
You can cut the leaves into pieces before cooking, or if they are very small, you can cook and eat them whole if desired.
Cooking the radish greens:
In a medium sized pot, add just enough water to cover the bottom, roughly 1/4 inch deep. Add the chopped radish greens, cover, and cook on medium heat or slightly higher. Be sure to stir and check every few minutes that there is enough water. If the water starts to run out while cooking, add a little more to prevent the greens from burning.
The greens will usually be tender within 10 minutes of cooking. When done, remove from heat and serve plain or drizzled with olive oil. Salt to taste, or sprinkle a small amount of tamari sauce on top. Try adding some gomasio to a batch for additional flavor.
Radish greens can be served as a side dish, or they can be mixed with rice, quinoa, noodles, and other more sustaining foods for flavor and nutrition. Additionally, radish leaves can be added to soups or cooked with other vegetables in a stir fry.
For more flavor, lightly brown some garlic in olive oil in a frying pan. Once the garlic starts to brown a little, add radish leaves and cover with a lid. A little bit of water can be added to help the greens cook down, or you can try just cook them in the oil. Be sure to stir frequently, and if they stick to the pan while you are cooking, you may want to lower the heat.
In Italy it is common to cook greens in olive oil and garlic. In addition, Italians will often chop a dried chili pepper and add it to the olive oil while browning the garlic.
When frying garlic, be sure not to let the garlic burn, as it will add an unpleasant bitter flavor to the food it is cooked with. Also be sure to turn on the stove vent, or your whole house will smell strongly of garlic. I once cooked and ate some greens this way prior to visiting my uncle. When we were talking, garlic came up in the conversation, and he mentioned how the whole house smelled of garlic from the moment I stepped foot in his house. This was coming from someone who was known for adding garlic powder on their pizza. I have heard of garlic outgassing from people's bodies, but apparently the smell of fried garlic lingers on clothing and hair, because he was across the room when I walked in. Hopefully you don't lose any contact from friends and relatives from trying this method. You certainly won't have any problems with vampires bothering you!
Anyone else eat these greens?
If you or any of your relatives eat radishes greens and would like to share your experience, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it!