I've been keeping a close eye on some of the vegetables that overwintered in my garden. In particular, I have rutabaga, turnips and beets that I planted last fall. In fact, I planted the rutabaga and turnips twice--August and then September--because they did not want to germinate for some reason. (Too hot?)
We have harvested some of the turnips. The rutabaga are still coming along. Then I had this patch of radishes that simply never got harvested. Could they possibly be any good?
I showed all this to our farmer friend Mike the other day when he stopped by to deliver a chicken and some potato and onions sets for planting. I was hoping Mike would give his seal of approval to my overwintered root vegetables. Mike looked around, sniffed and screwed up his face. "They'll all be too pithy," he declared.
Well, I knew that wasn't necessarily true of the turnips, because we've eaten some and they were delicious boiled and then mashed. I haven't tried the rutabaga yet because they're still on the small side. But I feared he was probably right about the radishes. They couldn't possibly be edible since last August 3 when I first planted them. Could they?
The radishes were right in the way of where I needed to plant a new crop of Swiss Chard. So I dug them up and started to sample. Mike was right about half of them. They were soft and hollow--in other words, "pithy." But the other half were still firm and solid. I tasted one. It was strong. Too strong for just nibbling. So I tossed the good radishes in extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned them with salt and roasted them in a 350-degree oven.
Roasted radishes taste a lot like turnips. The sharp flavor mellows in the oven. These were just fine to eat, not much to look at. Still, seven months is a long time to wait for radishes.