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How To Store Radishes and Their Many Health Benefits

A garden full of flowers looks great but one of the real bonuses of gardening is the ability to grow fresh fruit and vegetables.

Growing outdoors is a remarkably rewarding way to ensure you can enjoy completely organic produce without breaking the bank.

If you don’t have enough space outside, try a grow tent and bring on some fruit, veg or herbs indoors.

We will look today at how to store radishes so you can enjoy a supply year-round.

Also, we’ll show you just some of the many ways in which radishes can help with a huge range of health issues.

How To Store Radish

how to store radish

Radish – Raphanus Sativus – is a root crop from the Brassicaceae family.

The vegetable tastes sweet and has a pungent fragrance. The colors vary from red and white through purple and black. There is a similar variety of shapes and sizes.

Radishes are eaten either raw or cooked. They can also be pickled.

They are a fast-growing annual with crops maturing in just 3 to 4 weeks. This can extend to 6 or 7 weeks in cooler climates.

Storing radishes is extremely simple.

Storing Radishes in The Ground

storing radishes

If you plan to leave the radishes for a week or so, it’s best to simply leave them as they are in the ground. They have the cool and dark conditions they need. It will also be damp rather than wet.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can extend this storage method to include a box or trench like a root cellar to mimic traditional storage methods. Pop your radishes in a wooden box, add layers of leaves and straw then cover with plenty of dirt.

Storing radishes in the ground works most effectively when the weather is cooler.

Storing Radishes in The Refrigerator

If you live somewhere warmer or you want to store your radishes for more than a week or so, your best bet is to pop them in the refrigerator.

Rinse the radishes clean and snip off the tops.

Grab a bunch of paper towels and wrap up the radishes nicely.

Place the radishes inside a plastic Ziploc bag but do not close it completely. Sealing it totally can cause too much moisture. In turn, the radishes will rot.

Storing Radishes in The Freezer

You should not store radishes in the freezer. Since their roots are filled with water, they will go rock hard much like potatoes would.

The only exception is radish greens.

Rinse the greens clean then blanch in boiling water for a few minutes. This process will put a stop to enzyme action.

Plunge them directly into cold water then pat dry.

Put them into plastic bags and freeze. Vacuum sealing will further extend their life as well as enhancing the quality.

So…

Now you’ve got a good idea about how to store radishes, how about their health benefits?

The Many Health Benefits of Radishes

health benefits of radishes

Weight Loss

Radishes are extremely filling. This means that you can feel satisfied without going overboard on the calories. 100g of radishes have just 16 calories and almost no fat at all.

High in water and without much by the way of digestible carbs, they make a great option if you want to lose weight and maintain that weight loss by eating well alongside a proper exercise program.

High in roughage and fiber, they also have a low glycemic index (GI) leading to regular bowel movements and increased efficiency of the metabolism.

Diabetes

The low GI of radish means that they do not influence blood sugar levels.

Eating radish will also help sugars to be absorbed into the bloodstream. If you are a diabetic, this will stop you needing to worry about sudden spikes.

It’s certainly a good excuse to throw plenty of radish into your salads.

Cardiovascular Conditions

Radishes are rich in anthocyanins. These are a type of flavonoid. As well as giving radishes their distinctive flavor, these anthocyanins also carry a number of health benefits.

As well as having anti-inflammatory properties and helping to stave off certain cancers, anthocyanins can also lessen the chance of cardiovascular disease.

For a strong and healthy heart, get plenty of radishes on board. Every little helps when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Blood Pressure

Among a wide range of other nutrients, radish is also packed with potassium.

When potassium mixes with the vascular beds, it can assist with relaxing your blood vessels and increasing the flow of blood. You will enjoy a wider flow of blood rather than it being forced into thin channels.

If you want to regulate your blood pressure, radish is a great starting point.

Skin Disorders

Radish is full of vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, zinc and phosphorus. All of these are great for promoting clean, clear skin.

Hydration is important if you want perfect skin. Radish has a high water content so is perfect for boosting moisture levels in the skin.

Since radish has disinfectant qualities, it can also be useful for banishing dry skin with any cracking or rashes.

Raw radish is effectively used as a cleanser or face pack so as an all-rounder for skin, radish takes some beating.

Cancer

Rounding out our look at the health benefits of radish – and there are many more we do not have space to discuss today – we will look at how it can even help with cancer.

The anthocyanins, folic and vitamin C in radish combine to make it a powerful detoxifier. It’s a useful treatment for colon, stomach and oral cancers.

Radishes contain isothiocyanates. This means they can help to impede the progress of cancerous cells and even kill them off by altering the pathways.

Wrap-Up

We hope you have found this glance at how to store radishes along with an outline of their health benefits to be informative.

Please always feel free to share our articles on your social media.

Drop us a line if you have any gardening-related queries. We always do our best to respond in a timely fashion.

Now get some radishes into the ground and expand your vegetable garden with a powerhouse of health benefits.

When Are Carrots Ready To Pick?

When it comes to growing fruit and vegetables in your garden, carrots are one of the most popular choices.

Carrots are packed with flavor and nutrients but they do suffer from a reputation for being tricky to grow.

If you take a few simple things into account, though, growing some sweet organic carrots need not be a headache.

Today, we’ll look at how to grow carrots and also explore a couple of extremely common questions:

  • When are carrots ready to pick?
  • What do carrot sprouts look like?

If you can get to grips with growing these rewarding vegetables, after 4-6 weeks of work following the sowing, all you need do then is water them and superintend them to harvest.

With over 100 species, carrots are the second most popular vegetable, second only to the ubiquitous potato.

Carrots are rich in vitamin A. They are beneficial to your health in a number of important ways up to and including helping fight cancer cells.

The beta-carotene can help with your skin, general aging and vision. There’s some truth in the legend of carrots helping you see in the dark.

The presence of falcarinol, a natural pesticide, can even help stave off some forms of lung, colon and breast cancer.

So…

You can see why you would grow this crunchy powerhouse. What, though should you look out for when growing carrots?

How To Grow Carrots

what do carrot sprouts look like

Preparing Your Soil

Like with any root vegetable, your success with carrots to a large extent depends on the quality of the soil you have to work with.

Carrots enjoy well-drained soil that’s somewhat sandy in texture. They don’t cope well with clay, compacted soil, rocky conditions or an excess of water. Carrots do demand moisture but they still need the soil to properly drain.

Raised beds with alternative soil can work if what’s naturally available is sub-par for carrots.

Get started working over your soil towards the end of winter or start of spring. Work it over well down to an inch or two below the final depth of the carrots.

Take your time removing any roots or rocks, any debris that will get in the way should go.

Fertilizer

fertilizer for carrots

Carrots do not need lots of fertilizer. There’s certainly no need at all to fire up a fertilizer spreader and go over the top.

They do appreciate some nutrition. Use some fertilizer but shoot for about half the amount recommended on the packaging.

Most fertilizer packages have 3 numbers referring to:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

When you are first seeding, a balanced 10-10-10 mix is ideal.

Easing off on the nitrogen – dialing it back to 0 or 5, for example – will give you more carrot and less green so experiment until you find what works best for you.

You can throw in some bone meal or fish emulsion once a month and you’re covered for fertilizer.

Moisture Levels

In order to germinate, carrot seeds need to remain moist.

They can be awkward to sprout unless you get the watering right. Water at least twice a day and you should be fine.

Continue watering after sprouting but ease off gradually.

What Do Carrot Sprouts Look Like?

what do carrot sprouts look like

Source: Hudson Valley Backyard Farm

As you can see, carrot seedlings look very similar to blades of grass.

They are best sown directly into the soil as they do not transplant well. In general, when the important part of the vegetable is under the ground – as with carrots or potatoes or radishes – you are best advised to plant directly.

How To Sow Carrot Seeds

carrot seeds

Although they are small, it’s still wise to plant carrot seeds pretty thinly. You’ll get less hassle from pests this way and reduce the need for more laborious future thinning.

Choose a dry and sunny day if possible.

Sow the carrot seeds thinly covering the seeds once they are in place.

Once your seeds have germinated, you should thin the seedlings so you’re left with a couple of inches between each plant.

Other than frequent watering, you will not need to do much more to your carrots once they are at this stage.

As you can see, growing carrots really isn’t so difficult after all.

When Are Carrots Ready To Pick?

Any time from June or July onwards, you can start to pull them up.

As a general guideline, once they look big enough to eat, your carrots are ready to pick.

It’s a smart tactic to harvest in the evening. This will reduce the chance of carrot fly striking your harvest. The smell of crushed foliage draws these low-flying insects in. Minimize this by thinning out plants during the evening in still conditions.

If you have sown any carrots late, they must be lifted by October for storage over the winter.

3 Common Issues When Growing Carrots

Splitting

This occurs with alternating wet and dry periods.

If you are experiencing these conditions, try to compensate and regulate the soil moisture by steady watering and mulching.

Greening

When the soil washes away from the tops of the carrot roots, the shoulders can turn green.

If you spot this, push down some soil or mulch over the tops and prevent greening from taking place.

Forking

With forking, root growth is inhibited.

It can be caused by rocky soil, poor drainage, a lack of water or excessive nitrogen levels in the soil.

Good Companion Plants For Carrots

Since carrot rust flies can be such a nuisance, try planting some nice aromatic herbs like basil around your carrot patch.

As an added bonus, basil is easy to grow in a pot and it’s great to use in the kitchen. Check out our article here for 6 great ways to use basil.

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of how to grow carrots and that you now know how to identify carrot sprouts from weeds and are confident of when to pick your carrots.

Please drop us a line if you have any feedback or want any advice. We are always delighted to hear from our readers.

Now add some carrots to your organic vegetable garden!

Canning Spaghetti Squash: Winter Squashes And Pumpkins

It’s that bittersweet time of year again…

Summer is receding with fall already in full swing.

If you like to store up plenty of veg to use throughout the year, perhaps canning spaghetti squash is something currently on your mind…

Why Squash?

canning spaghetti squashThis versatile vegetable offers you a wealth of choice when taken to the kitchen. From pie and butternut squash custards through to stuffed squash, muffins and pancakes, imagination is your only limitation.

Squash might be prone to pests attacking it and awkward to bring to the table but it’s well worth the time and effort involved.

There are many different kinds of winter squash beyond the spaghetti variety.

  • Acorn squash: This type of squash is round with either orange or dark green on the outside. You can bake it or use it along with some nutty stuffing
  • Buttercup squash: This hard-shelled squash is shaped rather like a turban. Its’s particularly sweet. You can bake or steam this in your recipes. It can also be used as a substitute for sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash: Yellow and similar to a pear in terms of dimensions, butternut squash should be your go-to for mashing
  • Hubbard squash: This squash grows very large. If you buy it in a store, it’s often carved up into pieces. You can mash it or pop it in soups, bread, muffins or pancakes. Hubbard squash is really versatile
  • Spaghetti squash: Spaghetti squash is a creamy yellow color. It’s oblong with a mild flavor. It can be served as a replacement for pasta

Canning Spaghetti Squash: Why Use This Method?

Storing squash in a cupboard or cellar is fine for a short time but it soon begins to lose its luster. It can actually remain in decent condition for 2-3 months if stashed in a cool, dry place. Aim for temperatures of 40-50 degrees F if you plan to do this. Do not wash it before storing either.

It is not advisable to freeze squash but it can be refrigerated if you plan to use it within a week. If you keep squash in the fridge, be certain to keep it well away from raw meat. The juices can contaminate the squash quite easily.

So…

Canning spaghetti squash and other types of this powerhouse vegetable is perhaps the best method to choose.

Just about all kinds of squash are suitable for canning. Since they are low-acid foods, you need to process them with a pressure canner. You can make do with a pressure cooker if you do not have the correct canner in place.

Trying to full explain how to use a pressure canner would take thousands of words. If you are curious about what these wonderful devices can do, check out this excellent video.

canning squash

Canned squash will last for up to a year as long as the seal remains vacuum-tight.

Preparing To Can Squash

If you are going to bake or stew large squashes, you will need to cut them up first.

Since they give off their own liquid when roasting, you need only add a small amount of water.

Now assemble the equipment you will need for canning…

  • Pressure canner
  • Large pot or roaster, ideally enamel
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle
  • Knives (regular and serrated)
  • Tongs
  • Jar lifter
  • Canning jars
  • Saucepan
  • Vinegar
  • Towels or large board for cooling jars

How Do I Go About Canning Spaghetti Squash?

1) Washing and Cutting Your Squash

  • Clean your squash using a clean cloth and tap water
  • Cut the squash up into pieces
  • If you are dealing with pumpkins, this great article outlines how to carve them up fuss-free

2) Cooking The Squash or Pumpkin

  • For pumpkin, bake or stew. Remember to go easy on the water
  • With squash, pop the pieces in a roaster and bake until nicely tender
  • Make sure to allow the squash to cool for an hour before starting to handle it

3) Get Your Jars and Canning Equipment Readycanning squash

  • Wash all your jars. Sterilize them if necessary
  • Check all jars for cracks, chips, rusting or misaligned lids
  • Either simmer your lids – do not boil them – or pour some boiling water over them in a small saucepan
  • Pour about 2 quarts of water into your pressure canner and start heating it up
  • If you want to avoid stains from hard water on your canner and jars, add a splash of vinegar

4) Packing The Squash Pulp Into Jars

  • Spaghetti squash will ladle into the jars easily if you use a wooden spoon. For some other varieties, a canning funnel is preferable
  • Use the handle of your wooden spoon to tamp down any thickened pieces. With pumpkin, make sure to do this repeatedly. It will stop any damaging air bubbles from forming
  • Fill the jars up to a half-inch from the top
  • Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth and screw up firmly without overdoing it

5) Processing Your Squash In a Pressure Canner

  • Pop all the filled jars in a canner rack
  • Fasten the lid. Note: with older pressure canners, you might need to screw down some knobs to achieve this
  • Heat on LOW or MEDIUM until you can see the steam vent hissing and spitting
  • After 10 minutes, place on the weight to give 10 pounds of pressure
  • Process for 70-80 minutes, turn off the heat and allow everything to completely cool down

6) Cooling and Storage

  • Wait for the pressure gauge to return to zero before removing the weight
  • Use a jar lifter to safely grab each of your jars from the pressure canner
  • Leave all the finished and canned squash on a towel away from any drafts. Allow them to sit here overnight

Conclusion

Eating seasonal vegetables is a superb way to inject a wide range of different foods into your diet while always ensuring that you have fresh produce.

With squash, though, it works so well when it is canned and saved in jars that there is no reason not to enjoy this year round.

If you have any questions on canning spaghetti squash or any other issues, please get in touch. We will get back to you as promptly as possible.

Happy canning!