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The Behr vegetable ABC

Black radish

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The black Spanish radish belongs to the crucifer family. Originally, the radish comes from the Near East but is today distributed worldwide. The use of radish was already in evidence in Egypt 2,500 years before the birth of Christ. Although the radish group is very varied in shape and colour, the black Spanish and/or winter radish still represents a particular speciality. Contributing to this is its velvety, inky black outer colour.

The black Spanish radish is sown directly into the soil in July and August. It prefers a deeply tilled, humus-rich soil with a balanced supply of water. Growth conditions that are too dry, together with excessive heat, lead to radishes that are furry inside and unpleasantly sharp. The light areas of North Germany with their balanced climate therefore offer the best prerequisites for the cultivation of winter radish. The black Spanish radish is only slightly frost-hardy and must therefore be harvested before the first frost. The black Spanish radish is however well suited to storage and is available for good quality fresh preparation throughout the winter. This typical seasonal pattern is ultimately why the black Spanish radish has earned the name of winter radish.

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The black Spanish radish is significantly sharper than its white variation and is therefore rarely used raw in the kitchen. However, if the radish is finely grated and sprinkled with salt, it loses some of its sharpness and is very well suited to raw vegetable salads.
It is used cooked in soups, purees and casseroles. The radish is also a favourite medicinal plant in natural medicine and is often used domestically for making cough syrups.
Tip: also attributable to its long-known healing effects is the recommendation to make an effective cough syrup from radish. Carve out the radish head and make small holes underneath. Mix the radish flesh with sugar (or honey) and replace into the hollowed radish root. The juice that runs out can be used as a cough syrup.

Recipe suggestion: Black Radish Salad

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