Garden Radish

(Raphanus sativus) There were odd beliefs about the efficacy of radishes. For example, "if the vintener cutteth a Radish into slices, and bestoweth those pieces into a vessel of corrupt Wine, doth in a short time draw all the evil savour and lothsomeness (if any consisteth in the Wine) and to these the tartness of it like reviveth" (T Hill). Lupton claimed that "if you would kill snakes and adders, strike them with a large Radish, and to handle adders and snakes without harm, wash your hands in the juice of Radishes and you may do so without harm". It would be interesting to know if anyone actually tried this.

There is an annual radish feast at Levens Hall, about half way between Kendal and Milnthorpe, in Cumbria, held on 12 May (Ellacombe), which is the day on which Milnthorpe used to hold its fair (granted in 1280). Part of the feast seems to have been some kind of initiation ceremony, but the mayor and corporation of Kendal and most of the gentry attended the feast, of radishes and oatbread and butter (Vickery. 1995). Another traditional radish feast was held at the Bull Inn, New Street, in St Ebbe's, Oxford, after the annual meeting for the election of churchwardens (Bloxham).

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