Radishes

Here’s a helpful tidbit from another CSA. 

Radishes go from zero to edible in about 30 days, which is why you see so many of them at the first farmers markets. They germinate in 3 to 7 days, which explains how they got their genus name Raphanus, meaning “quickly appearing,” and why they are a favorite for school gardens.

In addition to being bright and lively, in color and in taste, radishes are rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium. For centuries they were used medicinally, to aid in digestion and to ward off colds, and for many years radishes were a crucial part of the American diet.   But vegetables, like everything else, have their cycles, and now radishes in the U.S. are most often relegated to the status of garnish, or a hint of color in a salad.  This incensed the British cookbook writerJane Grigson, who said, “It insults radishes, the most ancient of appetizers, to chop them up and bury them in a salad.”

So this year, broaden your radish horizons – and get two vegetables for the price of one. Radish greens from freshly harvested spring radishes are amazingly delicious. You can braise them together with other greens, or include in stir-fries.  Ever since I made my first radish green soup, this has become my favorite thing to do with them.  What seem rough and unappetizing leaves are transformed into a velvety soup of vibrant green, just like the season.

Radish Top Soup

Greens from 2 bunches of very fresh radishes (save roots for recipe below)
3 green onions or 1/2 large onion
2 medium potatoes
2 Tb olive oil
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or milk
1/2 cup cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Radishes and chives for garnish

Thinly slice onions. Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, greens, and potatoes. Toss until leaves wilt. Add 2 1/2 cups broth or milk. Simmer, covered, over low heat until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Put soup in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pan and stir in remaining broth or milk until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Heat soup and ladle into bowls. Garnish with thin slices of radish or chives.

Marinated Radish Bottom Salad 

1 large bunch June radishes (about 1 pound) 
1 Tb chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
3-4 TB extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher or sea salt
1 TB lemon juice

Slice the radishes as thinly as possible (use a mandoline if you have one). In a bowl, mix the sliced radish with the parsley, olive oil, and pepper. Let marinate from 2 to 24 hours. Season with salt, add the lemon juice, stir again, and transfer to a serving bowl. (Don’t add the salt until just before serving, or it will cause the water to osmose from the radishes, making a watery salad and limp radishes.)

Recipes from Henrys Farm CSA Food and Farm notes.

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