The glint of the sun on the flowing creek as I ride my bike over the bridge. The long-neglected, still-beautiful wood gate. The joyous smile and wave of a child passing me on his way to a great adventure. I love these moments, which brighten any day. During CSA pick-up days, the bright red of the radishes and the green of broccoli rabe signal that summer is here. Of course, not having to drive to campus each day is my personal seasonal affirmation!
The most beautiful roses of my childhood were the red radishes my mother placed in the center of each of our dinner salads. I distinctly remember saying yes each time she asked if I wanted a rose in my salad. At 4 years of age, of course I wanted the rose! But I didn’t like radishes, and would not eat one even when artfully carved. After a while, my mother stopped asking. I never had another rose in my salad. But I’ve never forgotten those roses, or the taste of the radish.
Last year, I determined that half a CSA share was a manageable amount of farm-fresh bounty for one person. I gave away things I did not like, but kept 90% of the produce. John will not be around this year to relieve me of the radishes, so I have decided to make radish relish. The idea comes from a woman I refer to as The Egg Lady. A vendor at the St. Charles Farmer’s Market in St. Louis, she once sold us a dozen eggs that included one with a blue shell. As you might expect, it hatched many discussions. The Egg Lady has assured me that radishes can be used to make a tasty condiment.
So when I discovered there would most likely be radishes in the share box, I decided to test my theory that adding enough sugar to anything will make the bite go away. The recipe itself was a gamble, but exploring the unknown is the only way to expand my boundaries.
(It’s ironic that, as I move to a diet incorporating more seasonal foods, there was a need to
purchase red onions and celery.) But time was needed to allow the flavors to meld. Which is not to say that I allowed time for the flavors to meld. The taste I had certainly improved my opinion of the radish, but not so much that it is a most welcome item in the share box. While my mother stopped making radish roses for me, there will be a supply of radish relish for her to eat as long as she wishes.
This recipe uses only the red radish. (Get the recipe here.) What I will do with the other radishes in my share remains to be seen, but a watermelon radish rose would be beautiful. Hmmm, where is my paring knife?