by Kalan Inman, Assistant Market Manager
The beet, daikon radish and watermelon radish are beautiful with their vivid colors and symmetry, especially these ones that I found at Whipstone Farm’s market booth. You can’t find these varieties in your conventional grocery store! As I chop them up for my salad, I can’t help but want to capture their rare natural beauty in picture. As I try to bunch them up close for the shot, I laugh and have a Eureka moment. I say out loud, “It’s a food pyramid!” with a stupid smile I just can’t wipe off my face. My kids look at me askance, but don’t admonish me for playing with my food.
Each of these winter jewels has its own nutritional strength.
The beet is a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. If you eat a lot of beets, it may turn your urine red, but it will flush out toxins.
Both the purple daikon radish and watermelon radish are excellent sources of fiber and vitamin C, particularly when eaten raw. Additionally, they contain flavonoids and the antioxidant sulforaphane. Purple daikon also contains vitamin B6, folate, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iodine. The leafy greens of the purple daikon are edible and offer a significant amount of vitamin C as well. Watermelon radishes stimulate the function of the liver and digestion process.
Fun fact about radishes: they contain isothiocyanate, a pungent chemical compound that when isolated makes an organic, natural pest repellent. Often radish crops (along with other Brassica plants) are planted by growers for this attribute as they release these compounds which are a natural repellent to weeds, pests, and soil-born pathogens.
If you’re going to play with your food, come to the farmers market; we’ll show you how it’s done.
You can contact Assistant Market Manager Kalan Inman at firstname.lastname@example.org