Are you familiar with daikon radishes? They’re the lovely, robust, carrot shaped white radishes that made their way into kitchens around the state a week or so back in Brookford CSA boxes. Is it just me, or are we New Englanders a bit skittish about our vegetables? I think we’re really comfortable with the staples we grew up eating. Squash, spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, onions...you get the idea. But what about the lesser known beauties gracing farmers markets and CSA boxes? Fennel, daikon, celeriac, kohlrabi. Delicata, black radishes, watermelon radishes. These things that many have never before seen, let alone cooked with or eaten, tend to intimidate.
I think most CSA customers enjoy trying new vegetables and stepping outside of our culinary comfort zones, but I often think about how that translates back into our habits. If you make a supplemental run to the store, would you seek out those rare treasures you discovered through the CSA? When you’re thinking about what you’d like to cook, do you include newer-to-you vegetables in the running? I think that there’s a process to transitioning newly discovered vegetables from something we enjoy dabbling with to something we consider a serious and desireable option.
For me, this process is best completed when I work to learn lots of ways to use a vegetable. I have to think outside the box, challenge myself to try a different approach, and get creative. The payoff is a richer appreciation of those box contents, the ability to welcome back seasonal favorites like old friends, and to greet new arrivals as friends in the making. Over the next month or so, I’ll be highlighting some of the lesser known vegetables that arrive in the CSA boxes, with the hope of transitioning those sometimes intimidating, sometimes celebrated varieties into the realm of habit and tradition. New favorites await!
A few reasons to love daikon radishes:
A rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and B-6 as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron, daikons help detoxify the body by aiding kidney function and supporting healthy digestion. They have anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial properties.
Step out of your comfort zone! You can do a lot with daikon. Try:
Adding to fried rice and stir fries
Making daikon mochi cakes
Serving raw, with dip or peanut butter
Making radish chips
Using them in place of carrots in recipes
Making this soup
Using them in place of other radishes in recipes
Making them into noodles - super yummy!
Fermenting them for a healthy and delicious treat
Adding a quarter cup of sliced daikon to a fruit smoothie for a well-hidden vitamin C boost
Using them in a salad, (try this fresh and zesty recipe)
Shredding and using in place of cabbage in a cole slaw
Making them into these spicy fries