mid MARCH :: red/white radishes and fennel
RED / WHITE RADISHES from that lovely and sulfurous Cruciferous family. Though available year around, radishes are a cooler weather vegetable and thus sweeter in spring and autumn, their leaves ever so more tender. In the simmering days of summer they become woody and lose all their joy. And those unblemished green tops... 'tis a shame to throw them away; they make for a great addition to salads, can be transformed into a wonderful pesto, or lightly wilted with a mixture of other baby greens. Besides they're an excellent source of Vitamin C and calcium (perhaps 6 times more content than the actual radish). And to think that we mainly grew up watching our mothers throw them away. Of course, if you're going to use the leaves, I'd suggest buying them grown organically, biodynamically, sustainably.... Better yet, grow them yourself — even on your windowsill.
note : I received an email from a friend regarding rhubarb leaves. I'm copying it here for all to take note...In the future when presenting a rhubarb recipe, I wonder if you would consider mentioning that the leaves are at least toxic if not poisonous.......oxalic acid if i remember correctly. I did not find any such mention in your e-mail. Some people are still not aware.
This young bulb of FENNEL hails from Sicily where the more clement temperatures allow for winter growth. In its native region (southern Europe and the Mediterranean) it is normally planted in late spring or early summer for harvesting in autumn and then again in spring. Of course fennel is available in summer and winter, but oh how stringy and cantankerous it is, as fennel is not one persuaded by summer's warmth or winter's chill.