Watermelon Radishes and a Blue Moon
Every January, we discover a gift from the ground − a crop that started way back in August, which we had written off to either timing or weather, that has surprised us with fortitude and abundance.
This year, our culinary winter gift is a few beds of strong, healthy vibrantly pink, Watermelon radishes—a little summertime color in the middle of January to lift our grey days. I usually hold off until early spring to write about radishes as they are always one of our first crops to harvest, however, this year, I am pleased to delight in these root vegetables a few months early or maybe many months late depending on how you see it.
Radishes are actually part of the mustard family, thus giving them their distinctive peppery flavor, which comes from the enzymes in their skin. Looking at these larger-than-usual red or Easter Egg radishes, they are greyish-white and kind of dull from the outside. When you slice into them, you can’t help but smile all over in anticipation. Their flavor is subtle in the beginning and then lends itself to the classic radish flavor that lasts a nice long time without a zingy bite. It is very easy to keep slicing away, and you realize you could have just eaten the radish whole. We adore eating these raw gems alone, in salads, lightly pickling them, or as with a beautiful spring harvest pizza recipe from Andrea Bemis’s “Dishing up Dirt” (you can slice them thin and lay on top of your favorite pizza). We usually cut the tops off and store separately as the greens are known to leech moisture from the roots, causing them to go soft quickly.
As we are now in the new moon and waxing until the , we have a special time in which to plant certain seeds and will start a few culinary and medicinal favorites a bit early. Both the radishes and the Blue Moon are wonderful gifts of January!
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