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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Heirloom Vegetable of the Month - China Rose Radish


China Rose Radishes
I have just received one of my favorite heirloom seed catalogs in the mail and reading through all the descriptions of all the wonderful seeds has inspired me to do a new post every month about a different heirloom vegetable.  This month I will start with the China Rose Radish.  Which is one of my favorite radishes.




History:
You probably could have guessed, by the name, but the China Rose radish originated from China, and is believed to have evolved directly out of the wild radish, making it one of the oldest radishes.  It is said to have been introduced to North America by Jesuit monks in the 1950's. 

China Rose radishes are grown better in the fall/winter which is why you will most likely only find these radishes at my table in the fall and not the spring.  They are long radishes verses the normal round radish that you would find in the store, but their long root make them wonderful for slicing.

How to Eat:
Can be used just like you would any other radish, but their long root make them very easy to slice.  Many people only think of using radishes in salads or snacking on them, but radishes (especially winter radishes) are also great roasted sauteed, fried, and steamed.  Many people do not know but you can also cook with the radish tops and use them much like you would other types of greens and turnip tops.

 Here is a good site that gives some good ideas of what you can do with radishes and explains some of the best uses for some different types of radishes.
The Warmth of a Winter Radish

Nutrition Data:
~ Radish leaves are an excellent source of calcium.
~ Can be beneficial to diabetics since they are low on the glycemic-index, and may actually help stabilize blood sugar.
~ It is high in potassium which may help lower high blood pressure, caused by high sodium intake.
~ 9 Reasons to "Eat Your Radishes"!
1. Naturally Cooling  2. Sooth Sore Throats  3. Aids Digestion  4. Prevents Viral Infections  5. Eliminates Toxins  6. Protects Against Cancer  7. Relieves Indigestion  8. Low in Calories, High in Nutrients  9. Keeps you Hydrated
The above reasons come from Full Circle, 9 Reasons to "Eat Your Radishes"!  You can read the details about all the reasons, just click on the above link to visit the website.
~ Low in Calories, Cholesterol, and Saturated Fat
~ High in Vitamin A and C, Calcium, Fiber, Potassium, and Magnesium
~ Nutrition Data for Radishes, Raw




Monday, December 9, 2013

Heirloom Vegetables

Back when I started growing vegetables on my own I use to grow mainly hybrid vegetables.  Most of the vegetables in the hybrid seed catalogs all look the same, they all boast of great disease resistance, and quick maturing.  Now I look at these same seed catalogs and they kind of boar me.  When they get a new variety it is usually the same exact looking vegetable that they had last year except new and improved.  Do not get me wrong I still do grow some hybrids but over the years I have been slowly phasing them out.  I can even see myself in the near future just growing heirlooms entirely.  Now when I look through my heirloom seed catalogs most of the descriptions focus on taste and flavor, the best use of the particular variety, and one of the most interesting things is the history of the variety.  Many heirloom varieties come with a very interesting history, stories of the families that grew them and passed them down from generation to generation, and many varieties have been around for a very long time.  Many people believe that if it is a carrot and it is not orange it must be some weird mutation, or genetically engineered vegetable, but this is not true, in fact some of the more unusual vegetable varieties have actually been around longer or just as long as some of your more common varieties.

Starting this month (December) each month I will pick a different heirloom vegetable, one that I either grow or plan to grow and tell a little bit about its history, how to eat it, and nutrition data.  For the month of December I will be starting off with China Rose Radish.  A very old, beautiful and tasty radish.

To start thing off here is a little bit about some heirloom vegetable varieties.

Beets
The Crapaudine Beet is believed to be the oldest beet in existence, it is believed to possibly be around 1000 years old.  The common beets that we know today were only developed around 300 year ago.  I have never grown this variety, but after reading about it I will be adding it to my list of seeds to order for this coming year.  It is a dark beet with a red inside, a long carrot like shape, and a thick bark like skin, that is said to be very easy to peel. 

Carrots
Some of the oldest carrots are not all orange, in fact white, yellow and purple carrots have been grown since before the 1100's.  It was not until around the 1600's that the orange carrot we know of today was first grown in Holland.

Tomatoes
There are hundreds of different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  They come in colors such as red, yellow, orange, purple, green, pink, brown, white, and striped.  There are many different sizes and shapes, such as cherry, plum, stuffing tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, paste, pear tomatoes, and many more.  Every color and variety also has its own unique taste and use.  Some are sweet, some are bitter, low acid, high acid, I can go on and on.  Just do a google image search for heirloom tomatoes and you will be amazed by the color and beauty all over your computer screen. 




Monday, December 2, 2013

How We Used Our Thanksgiving Turkey

Well our Thanksgiving turkey has now been baked, boiled, canned, and only what was left (bones) was thrown in the trash.  After Thanksgiving I had saved the extra liquid from when we had cooked the turkey and made up a large pot of gravy with it, and into that went a bunch of the leftover turkey.  I also cooked up some plain fushilli pasta and made up some red and pink mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes went onto the plate, then the pasta and the turkey and gravy got poured over the top of the potatoes and pasta, yum.

Mashed potatoes and pasta with turkey and gravy

15 jars of canned turkey broth

Today I made turkey broth out of the left over turkey carcass, and I ended up with 15 jars.  Last year I had also made turkey broth, and it was so nice this year to be able to pull out a jar of my homemade turkey broth and use it when I made my stuffing.

I am almost done using up all of my Thanksgiving leftovers, tomorrow I will be using up the last of my pumpkin puree, and baking up some more pumpkin pies to freeze for later use.  I also have some leftover winter squash puree that I will either be making some winter squash waffles (to freeze) or some winter squash pancakes, just depends on what I fell like.

Then I will get to relax for a little while and really start planning out and preparing for next years growing season.