Freshly Picked Bunches of Radishes at the Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ markets offer something fresh all year long, and the fresh is focused on what’s in season.
The cooler months of winter and a shady spot in summer can produce all sorts of radishes, from small, round and red to roots resembling carrots or miniature turnips.
Winter or long-season radishes, often referred to as daikon or Oriental radishes, take from 60 to 90 days to mature. White daikon, the most prevalent, resembles a large carrot without the frilly greenery. It offers a subtly sweet and slightly spicy flavor. Toss chopped daikon into stir-fries or slice thinly and pickle the daikon to add a little bite to sandwiches.
Spring radishes are referred to as short- season radishes since they grow and mature in as little as three weeks. If you have a young budding gardener, be sure to plant a row of radishes. Watching the seeds sprout from the ground in as little as three to four days is fascinating to a child, and the end results are quick and tasty! There is another lesson to learn if the radishes bolt – the little white flowers are edible too!
Most common of the spring radishes are the small, globe-shaped, red-skinned types. Check out farmers’ markets for other unique varieties, including the oblong, white-tipped French Breakfast and the Easter egg radishes with multicolored red, pink, violet and white skins.
Watermelon radishes hide stunning beauty under their creamy white-colored skin. Slice thinly to reveal bright, circular striations of light and dark pink – perfect in salads, sandwiches or sushi. My favorite pairings with this beautiful radish are fennel, apple, goat cheese and white fish.
Radish greens are edible and make a delicious pesto to use in pasta dishes, pizza or soups. In a food processor or blender combine three cups tender radish greens (packed, washed and dried), two finely chopped garlic cloves and 1/3 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts. With the food processor running, drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil and pulse until combined. Add ½ cup Parmesan cheese and pulse briefly. Add additional olive oil if needed to make a thick sauce consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
The Orinda Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Orinda Way in Orinda Village. More information is available at www.cccfm.org, facebook.com/OrindaFarmersMarket and Instagram at OrindaFarmersMarket, or call the market hotline at 925.431.8361.
Barbara Kobsar can be reached at Barbara@cotkitchen.com.