Saturday, May 23, 2015

Everything's Coming up Radishes

Establishing a new farm takes a lot of patience. Waiting for the seasons to change, baby animals to grow, and gardens to start producing a bountiful harvest all require a huge investment of time and energy before there is any tangible reward. At the advice of our local Ag Extension office, I planned to get the seeds in the ground for our garden on or around April 15th. Well, mother nature had a different plan and dumped two weeks of rain on us right when I'd hoped to plant. Once the rain cleared and I was able to till the garden patch, the seeds finally went in the ground, right at the end of April. And then I waited. With no previous experience with the local soil, and never having planted a garden this big or varied, I have no idea what to expect.

Our garden has somewhere around 70 varieties of produce planted, the bulk of which are seeds from a kit we purchased a while ago that was intended as something you could keep stored in the event of societal collapse ... or if you just wanted a crap ton of seeds that were heirloom varieties. Because the kit came pre-assembled, it included many items I would have probably passed over when browsing the seed racks at the local shop, such as Swiss chard or radishes. Radishes have never held much of an appeal to me. I have never scooped a single radish on to my plate at the salad bar. I'm not sure why, perhaps just ignorance. But into the ground radish seeds went, figuring what the heck, if nothing else I'd find a radish-loving neighbor.

Lo and behold, the first green sprouts to show their leafy faces, were the radishes. They grew quickly and plentifully. I checked my notes, and realized the radish takes only 21-28 days to mature. Which means, a month into my garden I've already had my first harvest! I sampled some of the young radishes, which were so surprisingly tender and moist. I ate those sliced with some salt, and when I shared photos of my small bounty, my friends asked what recipe I would be preparing. Recipe? You mean radishes can be used for something other than salad garnish? A quick scan of pinterest revealed a slew of options for these mysterious quick-growing root vegetables.

Tonight I pulled a huge bunch of radishes fresh from the garden. Tom wanted to grill, and I didn't have time to run to the store to pick up corn or potatoes, or another staple grilling accompaniment. I know that anything you roast you can just ass easily do in a foil packet on the grill, Radishes aren't all that different from potatoes, right? 

I washed the bunch of radishes, removed the roots and greens, and quartered them. I tossed the radishes in the foil packet with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic powder for good measure. I decided to keep it simple since I had no clue what a cooked radish tasted like.  It turns out it's reminiscent of a beet crossed with a Brussels sprout. The cooking cuts the inherent spiciness of the radish but imparts a certain... earthiness? Anyhow, I recommend this recipe if you want to try a little something different. I feel a little silly writing out the actual recipe since it's so ridiculously easy, but here ya go:

Grilled Radish Packets

1 bunch radishes (about 14)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garlic powder or other seasonings

Remove roots and greens from radishes and quarter. Place on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Close foil packet up securely. Place on the upper rack of a hot grill and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.


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