The First Harvest

Radishes are usually the first vegetables to mature in the spring. The seed packages say they take about 28 days from sowing to maturity – but mine always take a little longer. Today, as I was looking at the garden, I saw that some of the radishes could use a thinning. But why pluck out the immature  radishes when there were some that were almost ready?

I just pulled a few to give the rest some breathing room, but I was pleasantly surprised – the French Breakfast radishes were nearly full grown. With just their skinny, red necks sticking out of the soil, they were hiding some nice, 1.5″ long white, cylindrical roots. The Giant of Sicily radishes were starting to pick up, but were still quite short of their mature size. The few I thinned were probably just a 3/4″ in diameter. The Purple radishes were the least mature, but had the most vigorous foilage. The two I picked were tiny – less than one bite, but a beautiful, deep purple in color.

The French Breakfast radishes were really delicious – almost sweet, with an extremely slight sharpness. In another week, most of these will be right at their peak. I grew the Purple radishes last year, and they tend to have a short window of peak maturity before getting bitter and woody, but during that window, they’re very good – fresh tasting, with a nice spice to them. The Giant of Sicily is a new variety for me. These first few didn’t really impress me with their flavor – they tasted most like the standard store-bought radishes you can find anywhere. Of course, they had a sweetness that you never find in store-bought radishes, but they were the most bland of the three varieties.

Today, I used these radishes as a garnish for fish tacos. Janna broiled a small fillet of turbot, we warmed up a few corn tortillas, and I chopped a bunch of other veggies for a very quick, very satisfying meal. We topped the tacos with avocado, shredded Napa cabbage, green onions, poblano peppers, serrano peppers, cilantro, Greek yogurt and lime. So good, and it was made even better with fresh radishes, picked 20 minutes earlier.

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