Back at our tiny house on Avenel Avenue, we had a glorious back porch built by my dad and relatives, as well as a fairly large garden. We’d grow tomatoes, corn, peppers, eggplant, sunflowers, marigolds, beans, squashes and potatoes (those were always fun to dig up!). The garden had a little “L” piece, too. When we were young, Emma and I claimed that spot. We divided it in half (just like our shared bedroom, hard to do with bunk beds though). I remember trying to grow sweet crisp carrots and pretty pink radishes.
Of course, I didn’t like the radishes. They were peppery and crunchy. I liked sweet vegetables. No one else in my family really liked the radishes either. They probably made their way to the compost pile.
But, I planted radishes in my container garden this year. My grandpa suggested planting them at the same time as the beets—radishes germinate much, much quicker, while beet greens take forever to emerge from the ground. Planting in the same rows at the same time means that there’s quickly a row marker and you’re not wondering what’s wrong with your garden.
The fun thing about root vegetables too is knowing that work is happening under the ground, out of sight, but you don’t know the result until you pull the final vegetables up to harvest. These little radishes started telling me that they were ready to come out, now.
Because I had continuously thinned out the plants, I really only had a yield of about 10 radishes. But I wasn’t sure that I would like these radishes any better than the ones I grew when I was pint sized.
But I was so proud of my first harvest today, that I pretty much convinced myself that I had to like these radishes. Luckily, I actually did.
I did some food blog research today, trying to find out what to do with radishes. I sliced them up thin, and decided to have a salad for lunch.
Yesterday’s farmers’ market haul included spring salad greens, farm eggs and sugar snap peas. I mixed these up with some yummy ranch, croutons and a few pieces of green onions from my backyard, as well as the radishes. It was delicious. The fresh ingredients put any salad bar to shame.
For dinner, I wanted to eat a few more of my radishes. I figured that while they were just a few hours old, they would taste their best. Many food sites suggested radishes with butter, such as on toast. So that’s what I did, and it didn’t disappoint. I never would have thought of eating this as an appetizer before, but next time I have fresh radishes, I’ll make it again. I simply toasted some nice bread, spread on a good amount of butter (way more than I usually use!), and topped it with sliced radishes. A little sprinkle of kosher salt completed the dish. For some reason, it works. The creaminess of the butter and the pepper of the radish and the crunch of the salt add up to a perfect light, spring snack.
But now, I only have just a few radishes left. I’m thinking of pan roasting them with some butter and olive oil. Radishes aren’t usually cooked, but I read a few articles about how this technique brings out their sweetness, as it does with many vegetables. Hope it works!
Now I’m going to have to plant a new crop of radishes!