Thursday, July 31, 2008

Black Radish

At the end of a row of radishes I planted a variety that's new for me this year: black radish. I had no idea what to expect. Would they really turn out black?

I never eat as many radishes as I plant. Many of them just keep growing until they are sprouting flowers. I usually just leave them be. The blue, four-petaled flowers brighten up the garden and give the pollinators something to feed on. When the radishes are completely spent, they just go into the compost pile.

That seemed to be the fate of these black radishes. Except when I pulled one up, it wasn't the gnarly, misshapen, woody radish I've come to expect. No, these were almost perfectly round. Not black, exactly, but a dark brown. And when I tried one, it wasn't woody or hollow or any of those things. It was dense and creamy and delicious, with a pleasant bite--not like that scorching heat you often get from an old radish.

The black radishes grow to the size of a tennis ball and almost perfectly round. I pick one, wash it with the hose and bring it inside where I cut it into wedges, like an apple. I then carve the skin away with a peeling knife and dip the wedge into my salt cellar. This comes very close to a zero maintenance radish. And in the middle of summer!

French breakfast radishes are a delight to look at and eat when they are monitored and picked in their prime. But this fall I'll be planting more black radishes as well.


Christine said...

Coincidentally, I was perusing my 1973 edition of "The Joy of Cooking" a few days ago and happeded across a recipe called "black radish canape" and wondered what a black radish was. Then, lo and behold, I open The Slow Cook and there it is!

Ed Bruske said...

Chrinstine, I've never seen these for sale in a store or at the farmers market. Grow your own. They're great.