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Radishes are a member of the Cruciferae or mustard family.  They have a spicy, crispy taste.  Believed to have originated in either the Far East or countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea, radishes are found in the cuisines of many cultures, including the English, American, Japanese, and Chinese.     

A good source of dietary fiber, high in Vitamin C, and low in calories, radishes are 95 percent water.  Thirteen medium-sized radishes contain only 12 calories.

Most often eaten raw, radishes are a traditional addition to tossed green salads and are often piled next to olives and pickles on party trays. This root can also be steamed, sautéed, or added to Stir-fry.  Creative cooks are finding more ways to use radishes by including them in soups and even roasting them with a variety of other vegetables.  

I still prefer eating them raw.  If you are looking for a different way to use this root, here's one of my favorite recipes.  Radishes add a peppery crunch to this healthy wrap.   

Crunchy Cottage Cheese Wraps
Serves 4

½ cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
½ cup tomato, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup radishes, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, slivered
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon onion salt
Large grind black pepper to taste
1½  cups large curd cottage cheese 

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, green onions, yellow bell pepper, tomato, radishes, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and onion salt.  Add pepper to taste.  Gently fold cottage cheese into vegetable mixture.  

4 large butter lettuce leaves
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

 Place lettuce leaf on each tortilla.  Divide cottage cheese mixture evenly, place down the center of each tortilla, and roll.  Serve immediately.  

I personally like to use flavored tortillas with this recipe. Try garden vegetable, spinach, or tomato.  

Selection:  When shopping for radishes, select ones that are firm, well formed, tender, and crisp.  Their skin should be smooth and unblemished.  When squeezed gently, radishes should feel firm. If the tops are attached, the greens should be firm and perky.   The smaller the radish, the more tender it will be.  Larger radishes tend to have a more fibrous texture.  

Storing:  Once home, remove the greens and rinse the radishes thoroughly to remove any grit.  When stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, radishes will last up to one month.  When stored in plastic and refrigerated, they will keep 2 weeks.              

Carol Ann Kates is the author of award-winning cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market, selected as one of the top ten favorite cookbooks of the Denver Post food staff.  For more information, visit www.secretrecipesfromthecornermarket.com.

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