November 25th-27th 2019 – Magic spells in the field

Sometimes, when our expectation for rain combines with the anxiety of the rain’s failure to arrive, resulting (yet once again) in a make-believe winter, I get the urge to turn to witchcraft. I’d love to have a book of incantations with instructions for concocting a brew from thirsty clods of earth, dried up-snails, a few strands of tresses turned white from worry, and summer vegetables (who have no urge to return their gear to the quartermaster and head off into the sunset). After mumbling some mumbo jumbo, abracadabra – the heavens would open up and shower us with a luscious, rainy, cold and satiating winter. Or not……

So even though this week’s forecast is looking rather glum and the temperatures are way too high for the month of November, we cling to our hopes and prayers for a blessed, rainy winter. Joining us in our hope and anticipation are the winter vegetables, including the very prominent Cruciferae/mustard family. One branch in its family tree is the lovely Brassicaceae kin, including broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower and cabbage who have already visited your boxes, as well as their close cousins, the very strong roots growing underground. If any vegetables can make magic happen, it’s them! So, in honor of the return of the Brassicaceae family’s radish roots, I am re-posting a well-rooted bewitched and super mustardy newsletter. Cackle, cackle…

Radish, Turnip, Eye of Newt………

In a popular Hebrew book that my daughters love about five witches (by Ronit Chacham), radishes and turnips are major ingredients in the brew concocted for a spell cooked up by five very amusing witches. As it turns out, not only witches crave these vegetables.  Among us mortals and muggles, the turnip and radish (along with baby radishes and daikon) can be just as vital in a potion to ease the common cold, cough, mucous buildup, hoarseness, infections and other winter ills. Winter is the season in which the members of the Brassicaceae/Cruciferae families thrive. They are cousins, not siblings, since the radishes belong to the Raphanus genus and the turnips to the Brassica genus, but today we will sandwich them all together (or stir them in the same cauldron) and discuss their common characteristics.

So we already know that they all belong to the prominent Brassicaceae family, along with such fellow members as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi, kale, mustard greens, tatsoi, mizuna, arugula and others. Its former name was Cruciferae, (from the word “cross”) after the four-petal flowers resembling a crucifix. Here are some examples:

 

Wild Mustard

Erucaria

Maltese Cross Ricotia

Wild Radish

The Brassicaceaes are a venerable winter family, and we eat various parts of their plants: sometimes the flower buds (broccoli, cauliflower), sometimes the stem (the thick part, as in kohlrabi) or the leaves (mustard, cabbage, tatsoi, arugula and others) and also the roots, to whom this newsletter is dedicated today: the radish, baby radish, daikon and turnip.

Truth be told, this is a populist division. The good parts of the turnip, daikon and radish are not only found underground – a number of parts of these vegetables can be eaten. For instance, turnip greens are very tasty, and some turnip varieties are grown specifically for their leaves, not roots. Leaves of the large radish are bitter and coarse, but the greens of baby radishes have an esteemed place in the culinary arts. The French add baby radish leaves to potato soup and to add a hint of pungency to salads made of steamed spinach.

Other varieties of radishes and turnips were developed in order to make oil from their seeds. These oils were used in the past, and Maimonides mentions them in discussing oils permitted for Sabbath candle lighting (see Mishnah Torah, Shabbat, 5;11). They love the cool winter climate, which slows down their breathing and expands the quantity of carbohydrates, a process which improves flavor. Unstable conditions will produce woody roots and a sharp flavor, and they will turn bitter in warm or dry weather (which is why we make sure to water them in weather conditions such as the present). This is also why they are winter symbols in Israel – the plants develop thickened roots and fancy leaf inflorescence on their crowns.

And now, some words on each of these vegetables:

The turnip is an ancient domesticated crop that was possibly grown in gardens of old in China, Greece, Rome, Egypt and also here. In kitchens throughout, it was a basic, common vegetable. Assaf the Physician (Assaf Harofe Ben Brakhiyahu who lived in 6th century Tiberias) praised the leaves and seeds of the turnip: “The leaves will be useful for all mental distresses and for malaria, while its seeds will be useful in treatment of pain and all sorts of ailments that lead to death.” However, even the juice produced from the root itself is known in folk medicine as beneficial in treating coughs, hoarseness, mucous buildup, and dryness of the nose and mouth. In natural medicine, turnip juice is used to treat malaise as well as kidney stones. In order to produce juice, one must press the root. Half a kilo of roots makes one glass of juice. Half a kilo of squeezed leaves will make half a glass of juice.

At Chubeza, over the past few years we have been growing the familiar type of turnip, with a purplish stain on top, in addition to a special type – a white, round and very sweet turnip. Even confirmed turnip haters have got to try this one!

The radish, too, is ancient and prevalent like the turnip. It is considered to be an appetite stimulant and to assist digestion. Take advantage of its refreshing flavor by serving a fresh radish salad between meal courses to cleanse your palates and prepare for the upcoming flavor. The radish’s medicinal virtues are similar to those of its cousin the turnip, beneficial in treating both respiratory and kidney ailments. In addition, turnips are friendly to pregnant women, known to intensify fetal movement (and not as fattening as chocolate) as well as decreasing gas. Soak swollen feet in a radish bath and feel the relief!

There are many varieties of radishes, differing in size, shape, color, and degree of pungency. At Chubeza, we grow radishes and daikons – the long, white Japanese radish. Take a look at several radish beauties:

small colorful radishes

Black radish

Daikon radish

Red radish

Instructions for Storing:

  • Radishes and turnips are roots, i.e., their function is to absorb food and water from the earth in order to supply them to the plant as needed. When picked, we disconnect the plant from its current supply, and the roots hurry to transform the material they accumulated to the plant’s leaves in order for them to continue to grow. The root itself will eventually become depleted. Therefore, when you receive a radish, turnip, or daikon (and the same goes for beets and carrots) with leaves attached, you must snip the leaves in order to preserve the root’s contents, to keep it fresh and firm for as long as possible.
  • It’s best to store root vegetables in a closed container to isolate them from the processes in the fridge and the materials secreted from other vegetables and food.

Radishes and turnips are great served fresh in a salad or sandwich, but don’t forget to use them in cooking as well. Yes, baby and regular radishes – as well as daikon – can be baked and stir-

fried. In our home, daikon season hails the commencement of Miso Soup season!

Go ahead then: relish the radishes and turn up for turnips. They will add some freshness to this sultry November and warm your hearts.

Awaiting the rain, which may hopefully arrive at the end of this week. Keep your fingers crossed, like this Daikon fella from our field…

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Orin, Yochai and the Chubeza team

_____________________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach/totsoi, beets/kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli/cabbage, carrots, parsley/dill, lettuce/arugula, fennel/daikon/baby radishes. Small boxes only: scallions.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/okra, celery, eggplant/red bell peppers, cauliflower.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, oranges, pomelit, clementinas, bananas

Wednesday: Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach/totsoi, beets, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli/cauliflower, carrots, parsley/dill, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, fennel/daikon/baby radishes, scallions/celery.

Large box, in addition: Lubia Thai yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/okra,  eggplant, cabbage/red bell peppers/kohlrabi.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocados, oranges, pomelit, clementinas, bananas/apples.

 

November 19th-21st 2018 – Magic spells in the field

Sometimes the combination of our expectation for rain mixed with the anxiety of it not arriving leaves us once again with a make-believe winter. Nothing has helped to date, so……the time has come to turn to witchcraft!

What we need is a book of incantations, brewing up a concoction of some thirsty clods of earth, dried up-snails, a few strands of tresses turned white from worry, summer vegetables (who just want to return their gear to the quartermaster and head off into the sunset), mix them all together, mumble some mumbo jumbo, and abracadabra – the heavens open up and shower us with a luscious, rainy, cold and satiating winter. True winter.

But in the meantime, we appreciate every droplet of rain in our field, cheering on the drop in temperature, hoping and praying and wishing for a blessed rainy winter. Joining in our hope and anticipation are the winter vegetables, including the very prominent Brassicaceae family. One branch in its family tree is the lovely mustard family and its members, the broccoli, kohlrabi and cabbage who have already visited your boxes. The cauliflower is on her way soon, along with their close cousins the very strong roots growing underground. If any vegetables can make magic happen, it is them! So in honor of the return of the Brassicaceae roots, I am re-posting a bewitched Newsletter. Cackle, cackle…

Radish, Turnip, Eye of Newt……………..

In a popular Hebrew book that my daughters love about five witches (by Ronit Chacham), radishes and turnips are major ingredients in the brew concocted for a spell cooked up by five very amusing witches. As it turns out, not only witches crave these vegetables.  Among us mortals and muggles, the turnip and radish (along with baby radishes and daikon) can be just as vital in a potion to ease the common cold, cough, mucous buildup, hoarseness, infections and other winter ills. Winter is the season in which the members of the Brassicaceae family (formerly the Cruciferae) thrive. They are cousins, not siblings, since the radishes belong to the Raphanus genus and the turnips to the Brassica genus, but today we will sandwich them all together (or stir them in the same cauldron) and discuss their common characteristics.

So we already know that they all belong to the Brassicaceae family, along with such members as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi, mustard greens, tatsoi and others. Its former name was the Cruciferae, after the shape of its four-petal flowers, which resembles a crucifix. Here are some examples:

 

Wild Mustard

Erucaria

Maltese Cross Ricotia

Wild Radish

The Brassicaceaes are a venerable winter family, and we eat various parts of their plants: sometimes the flower buds (broccoli, cauliflower), sometimes the stem (the thick part, as in kohlrabi) or the leaves (mustard, cabbage, tatsoi, arugula and others) and also the roots, to whom this newsletter is dedicated today: the radish, baby radish, daikon and turnip.

Truth be told, this is a populist division. The good parts of the turnip, daikon and radish are not only found underground – a number of parts of these vegetables can be eaten. For instance, turnip greens are very tasty, and some turnip varieties are grown specifically for their leaves, not roots. Leaves of the large radish are bitter and coarse, but the greens of baby radishes have an esteemed place in the culinary arts. The French add baby radish leaves to potato soup and to add a hint of pungency to salads made of steamed spinach.

Other varieties of radishes and turnips were developed in order to make oil from their seeds. These oils were used in the past, and Maimonides mentions them in discussing oils permitted for Sabbath candle lighting (see Mishnah Torah, Shabbat, Chapter 5, halakha 11).

Radishes and turnips love the cool winter climate, which slows down their breathing and expands the quantity of carbohydrates, a process which improves flavor. Unstable conditions will produce woody roots and a sharp flavor, and they will turn bitter in warm or dry weather. This is why in Israel they are winter symbols – the plants develop thickened roots and fancy leaf inflorescence on their crowns.

And now, some words on each of these vegetables:

The turnip is an ancient domesticated crop that was possibly grown in gardens of old in China, Greece, Rome, Egypt and also here. In kitchens throughout, it was a basic, common vegetable. Assaf the Physician (Assaf Harofe Ben Brakhiyahu who lived in 6th century Tiberias) praised the leaves and seeds of the turnip: “The leaves will be useful for all mental distresses and for malaria, while its seeds will be useful in treatment of pain and all sorts of ailments that lead to death.” However, even the juice produced from the root itself is known in folk medicine as beneficial in treating coughs, hoarseness, mucous buildup, and dryness of the nose and mouth. In natural medicine, turnip juice is used to treat malaise as well as kidney stones. In order to produce juice, one must press the root. Half a kilo of roots make one glass of juice. Half a kilo of squeezed leaves will make half a glass of juice.

At Chubeza, over the past few years we have been growing the familiar type of turnip, with a purplish stain on top, in addition to a special type – a white, round and very sweet turnip. Even confirmed turnip haters have got to try this one out!

The radish, too, is ancient and prevalent like the turnip. It is considered to be an appetite stimulant and to assist digestion. Take advantage of its refreshing flavor by serving a fresh radish salad between meal courses to cleanse your palates and prepare for the upcoming flavor. The radish’s medicinal virtues are similar to those of its cousin the turnip, beneficial in treating both respiratory and kidney ailments. In addition, turnips are friendly to pregnant women, known to intensify fetal movement (and not as fattening as chocolate) as well as decreasing gas. Soak swollen feet in a radish bath and feel the relief!

There are many varieties of radishes, differing in size, shape, color, and degree of pungency. At Chubeza, we grow radishes and daikons – the long, white Japanese radish. Take a look at several radish beauties:

small colorful radishes

Black radish

Daikon radish

Red radish

Instructions for Storing:

  • Radishes and turnips are roots, i.e., their function is to absorb food and water from the earth in order to supply them to the plant as needed. When picked, we disconnect the plant from its current supply, and the roots hurry to transform the material they accumulated to the plant’s leaves in order for them to continue to grow. The root itself will eventually become depleted. Therefore, when you receive a radish, turnip, or daikon (and the same goes for beets and carrots) with leaves attached, you must snip the leaves in order to preserve the root’s contents, to keep it fresh and firm for as long as possible.
  • It’s best to store root vegetables in a closed container to isolate them from the processes in the fridge and the materials secreted from other vegetables and food.

Radishes and turnips are great served fresh in a salad or sandwich, but don’t forget to use them in cooking as well. Yes, they can be baked and stir-fried, and they will warm your hearts by adding some coolness to this year’s sultry November.

Impatiently awaiting the rain, which may hopefully arrive at the end of this week. Keep your fingers crossed, like this Daikon fella from our field…

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

This season is abounding with fresh, delicious greens. This week, we’re sending you a special winter gift of an additional green vegetable. Enjoy!

Monday: Eggplant/potatoes, green & red bell peppers, lettuce, radishes/daikon/baby radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli/cabbage, spinach/totsoi, coriander/dill/parsley, Swiss chard/ kale. Special gift: arugula

Large box, in addition: Turnips/beets, Jerusalem artichokes/Thai yard-long beans, celery.

FRUIT BOXES: Apples, bananas, avocadoes, oranges, clementinas.

Wednesday: Sweet potatoes/potatoes, green & red bell peppers, lettuce/mizuna, radishes/daikon/baby radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach/totsoi, coriander/dill/arugula, Swiss chard/kale.

Large box, in addition: Turnips/beets/cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes/Thai yard-long beans, celery.

FRUIT BOXES: Apples, bananas, avocadoes, oranges, clementinas.

A VEGETABLE TO DAI(KON) FOR

 This week, your boxes include an invitation to a writing workshop to be held in our field led by Liran, a veteran client and friend, on Friday, October 26th.

Here are the details (Hebrew):

We will be very pleased to host you for a different kind of growth experience in our field. For questions or other thoughts, speak to Liran at 054-2400408  lirankeren1@gmail.com

___________________________________________________

Who Are You, Strange-Looking Vegetable? 

Today’s riddle: what looks like a huge carrot, smells like a radish and has leaves like a turnip??

(And, yes! He’s been spotted of late in your Chubeza box!)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to introduce you to the strange but extraordinary………(drumroll)………Mr. Daikon!

daikon

But who and what is he?

The daikon is a white elongated radish of Japanese origin. Contrary to popular belief, the radish is not a boring product at all, but rather a colorful, diversified vegetable ranging in size and shape from tiny cherry-like radishes all the way to huge basketball-sized models. The elongated radishes vary from small finger-sized varieties to whopper radishes measuring 60 cm long and 15 cm wide! And the radish color scale stretches from red and purple to different hues of pink, yellow and green, to white. There are even black (Spanish) radishes, with a black peel and white interior.

The Chinese, Egyptians, Greek and Romans have been well acquainted with radishes for thousands of years. In the Mediterranean area, we can track the presence of radishes back to 2,000 years BC, with the oldest illustration of a daikon (to date) appearing on pyramid walls nearly 4,000 years ago! In ancient Greece, radishes were greatly revered, and golden radish icons were used to worship Apollo. For comparison, the beet came in second with silver icons, with turnips rating only the lead version. Roman lore includes mention of different-shaped radishes in various sizes: round and elongated, small and large. Most of the radishes of that time must have been jumbo size, similar to today’s Far East varieties. The small radishes were introduced to us from the middle of the 16thcentury. The radish is also one of the first crops introduced to Native Americans by Columbus. Around the 1500s, it was already known in Mexico and Haiti. To this day, there is an interesting radish festival that takes place in southern Mexico during this time of the year.

In Israel, the radish was known during the Mishnaic Era. Its seeds were used to make lamp oil, and it was grown for food.  The radish was considered a delicacy that was served to kings and rulers all year long: “These are Antoninus and Rabbi, whose table never lacked radish, lettuce or cucumbers, neither in summer nor winter!” (Berachot, 41)

Such is the low-maintenance radish, which can be grown with relative ease throughout the entire year. It even tolerates the hot Israeli summer, although it prefers the coolness of winter, spring and autumn.

While Europeans are partial to the small, round reddish-pink radish, the East opted for the larger sizes, thus the species that developed there are the longer, paler types. The daikon is a Japanese white radish, as its name “big (dai) root (kon)” attests. It looks a little like a big smooth, white carrot (but there are also yellowish, green and black varieties). Size-wise, daikon varieties run the full gamut from giant-size to small, depending on their specie and conditions of growth.

The daikon is especially adored in the Far East. It is renowned for its ability to aid digestion and purify and relieve the respiratory system. The daikon constitutes one-third of the vegetables grown in Egypt (by weight). These radishes are usually preserved in huge barrels and added to food as pickles. And to top it all – the daikon is simply tasty. Its flavor and texture are somewhere between the radish and turnip, with a bite that is milder than the radish and with a wintery freshness that only such a root can attain,  which is why you might recognize it as that grated vegetable served with sushi, alongside the pickled ginger. There its aim is to “cleanse” your taste buds in between bites of sushi so as to maximize the full experience of each roll.

We make the most use of the radish root (or more accurately, the neck of the root), but in different areas in the world other parts are used as well. There are species grown solely to extract oil from the seeds, while others are developed for their greens.

From the time of the Mishna, the radish has been known to aid digestion: “the radish cuts the food” (Avoda Zara, 11), and as a plant that reduces fever and aids in relieving the common cold. “The radish is good for those ailed by [lack of] sunshine” (Rashi, Avoda Zara, 28). These claims are supported today by the proven nutritional value of radishes and daikons, rich in vitamin C and enzymes that aid digestion, explaining the long tradition of their medicinal remedies.

In an article in praise of the daikon, Rebecca Wood, a guru of whole natural food, writes that the daikon purifies the blood, improves energy flow, accelerates metabolism, purifies the kidneys and cleanses the lungs. She suggests regular consumption of daikon to prevent the common cold, flu and respiratory infections. Wood touts daikon as a remedy for hangovers, sore throat, flu and edema, and even claims it’s a cancer-preventer. Click here for her personal daikon brew for treating asthma, bronchitis, the common cold, indigestion and even for dieting. Truly, a wonder vegetable.

Back at Chubeza, we know a daikon is ready to be harvested when it starts peeking out of earth. As this lanky vegetable matures, it grows so big that the space allotted for it in the earth becomes crowded. Thus it starts pushing out above ground, looking like this:

daikon

And now, for a little daikon comic relief: the beloved daikon lends itself brilliantly to food sculpting events where world-renowned chefs and laymen alike come to sculpt dinner. Here are some especially adorable daikon-made characters:

   daikon_sculpture1   daikon_sculpture

 Tips for Storing Radishes and Daikon:

-To prevent radishes (and daikons) from becoming “dry as a radish,” they must be refrigerated. First, remove the leaves to prevent them from drawing moisture from the root. Afterwards, place the root in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator.
– If, despite it all, the radish becomes shriveled and pathetic, place it in a bowl of ice water to revive the radish and restore its firm texture.
– A Japanese secret for cooking daikon: use rinse water from rice, or a bit of rice vinegar, to retain the daikon’s whiteness and temper the bitter, sharp taste.
– In cooking, peel the daikon to reduce the bitterness found primarily in the peeling and to prevent stringiness. The root itself is sweet and crunchy.

Check our recipe section for a host of delectable daikon recipes in a variety of delicious uses.

Go ahead and try them…Enjoy!!

And just before we sign off for the week, a hearty Mazal Tov to Mohammed and his family on the occasion of his youngest daughter’s marriage this week, sister of Majdi and Ali. From all of us at Chubeza – here’s to great happiness, growth and love!

Wishing everyone a great week,
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

____________________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

This week there’s lots of greens – this is their time to shine – so we added an additional green vegetable to your box. Our gift. Enjoy!

And – there’s popcorn in the box – not to be confused with corn that lost its passion and hardened. Do not cook the popcorn! For your reading pleasure, here’s a link to the recent Popcorn Newsletter.

Monday: Eggplant/zucchini/onions, potatoes/sweet potatoes, lettuce, baby radishes/daikon, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin/ corn, bell peppers, arugula/   Swiss chard, parsley/coriander/dill, popcorn. Free gift: mizuna/Salanova lettuce!

Large box, in addition: Thai yard-long beans/okra, kale/totsoi, leeks/beets.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocadoes, apples, pears.  Small boxes: Pomelit. Large boxes: Bananas and klementinas.

Wednesday: Eggplant/zucchini/beets, lettuce, radishes/daikon, cucumbers, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin/carrots, bell peppers, arugula/Salanova lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, popcorn, leeks/Thai yard-long beans. Free gift: mizuna!

Large box, in addition: Potatoes/sweet potatoes/okra, corn, Swiss chard/kale/totsoi.

FRUIT BOXES: Avocadoes, apples,Bananas.  Small boxes: klementinas. Large boxes:  star fruit (karambula).

October 23rd-25th 2017 – Bewitched!

More new and wonderful signs of renewal: The Ein Harod almonds are back! Beginning this week you will be able to order excellent organic almonds from the Ein Harod Kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley. For the past several years, they have been growing almonds and selling them directly to consumers via small farms. Every year the demand outnumbers the supply, and the almond stock is exhausted in just a few months. Highly recommended! Don’t wait – order via our order system now!

—————

Tomer and Hamutal began producing their apple juice from fruit residuals of Kibbutz Tzuba, and in the process made some very fortuitous mistakes. An error in production resulted in their dry apple cider and apple vinegar (from over-fermented cider). You can read about their nutritious and medicinal virtues in this information page sent by Hamutal (Hebrew.) Also, check out this very sweet article about them by Ronit Vered in Ha’aretz – lots of compliments and true stories. Read all about it!

Tomer and Hamutal’s apple and pear juices are seasonal. They remain with us from the end of summer till the end of fall, after which we sit around and pine for them… Taste them now for an extraordinary treat! As usual, order via our order system.

—————

In honor of the return of the Brassicaceae roots (and Halloween), I am re-posting a bewitched Newsletter. Cackle, cackle…

Radish, Turnip, Eye of Newt……………..

In a popular Hebrew book that my daughters love about five witches (by Ronit Chacham), radishes and turnips are major ingredients in the brew concocted for a spell cooked up by five very amusing witches. As it turns out, not only witches crave these vegetables.  Among us mortals and muggles, the turnip and radish (along with baby radishes and daikon) can be just as vital in a potion to ease the common cold, cough, mucous buildup, hoarseness, infections and other winter ills. Winter is the season in which the members of the Brassicaceae family (formerly the Cruciferae) thrive. They are cousins, not siblings, since the radishes belong to the Raphanus genus and the turnips to the Brassica genus, but today we will sandwich them all together (or stir them in the same cauldron) and discuss their common characteristics.

So we already know that they all belong to the Brassicaceae family, along with such members as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kohlrabi, mustard greens, tatsoi and others. Its former name was the Cruciferae, after the shape of its four-petal flowers, which resembles a crucifix. Here are some examples:

Wild Mustard

Erucaria

Maltese Cross Ricotia

Wild Radish

The Brassicaceaes are a venerable winter family, and we eat various parts of their plants: sometimes the flower buds (broccoli, cauliflower), sometimes the stem (the thick part, as in kohlrabi) or the leaves (mustard, cabbage, tatsoi, arugula and others) and also the roots, to whom this newsletter is dedicated today: the radish, baby radish, daikon and turnip.

Truth be told, this is a populist division. The good parts of the turnip, daikon and radish are not only found underground – a number of parts of these vegetables can be eaten. For instance, turnip greens are very tasty, and some turnip varieties are grown specifically for their leaves, not roots. Leaves of the large radish are bitter and coarse, but the greens of baby radishes have an esteemed place in the culinary arts. The French add baby radish leaves to potato soup and to add a hint of pungency to salads made of steamed spinach.

Other varieties of radishes and turnips were developed in order to make oil from their seeds. These oils were used in the past, and Maimonides mentions them in discussing oils permitted for Sabbath candle lighting (see Mishnah Torah, Shabbat, Chapter 5, halakha 11).

Radishes and turnips love the cool winter climate, which slows down their breathing and expands the quantity of carbohydrates, a process which improves flavor. Unstable conditions will produce woody roots and a strong flavor, and they will turn bitter in warm or dry weather. This is why in Israel they are winter symbols – the plants develop thickened roots and fancy leaf inflorescence on their crowns.

And now, some words on each of these vegetables:

The turnip is an ancient domesticated crop that was possibly grown in gardens of old in China, Greece, Rome, Egypt and also here. In kitchens throughout, it was a basic, common vegetable. Assaf the Physician (Assaf Harofe Ben Brakhiyahu who lived in 6th century Tiberias) praised the leaves and seeds of the turnip: “The leaves will be useful for all mental distresses and for malaria, while its seeds will be useful in treatment of pain and all sorts of ailments that lead to death.” However, even the juice produced from the root itself is known in folk medicine as beneficial in treating coughs, hoarseness, mucous buildup, and dryness of the nose and mouth. In natural medicine, turnip juice is used to treat malaise as well as kidney stones. In order to produce juice, one must press the root. Half a kilo of roots make one glass of juice. Half a kilo of squeezed leaves will make half a glass of juice.

At Chubeza, over the past few years we have been growing the familiar type of turnip,with a purplish stain on top, in addition to a special type – a white, round and very sweet turnip. Even confirmed turnip haters  have got to try this one out!

The radish, too, is ancient and prevalent like the turnip. It is considered to be an appetite stimulant and to assist digestion. Take advantage of  its refreshing flavor by serving a fresh radish salad between meal courses to cleanse your palates and prepare for the upcoming flavor. The radish’s medicinal virtues are similar to those of its cousin the turnip, beneficial in treating both respiratory and kidney ailments. In addition, turnips are friendly to pregnant women, known to intensify fetal movement (and not as fattening as chocolate) as well as decreasing gas. Soak swollen feet in a radish bath and feel the relief!

There are many varieties of radishes, differing in size, shape, color, and degree of pungency. At Chubeza, we grow radishes and daikons. Take a look at several radish beauties:

small colorful radishes

Black Radish

Daikon radish

Red radish

Instructions for Storing:

  • Radishes and turnips are roots, i.e., their function is to absorb food and water from the earth in order to supply them to the plant as needed. When picked, we disconnect the plant from its current supply, and the roots hurry to transform the material they accumulated to the plant’s leaves in order for them to continue to grow. The root itself will eventually become depleted. Therefore, when you receive a radish, turnip, or daikon   (and the same goes for beets and carrots) with leaves attached, you must cut the leaves in order to preserve the root’s contents, to keep it fresh and firm for as long as possible.

 

  • It’s best to store root vegetables in a closed container to isolate them from the processes in the fridge and the materials secreted

from other vegetables and food.

Radishes and turnips are great served fresh in a salad or sandwich, but don’t forget to use them in cooking as well. Yes, they can be baked and stir-fried, and they will warm your hearts by adding some coolness to this year’s sultry October.

Impatiently awaiting the rain, which may hopefully arrive at the end of this week. Keep your fingers crossed, like this Daikon fella from our field…

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza group

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S AUTUMN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, cucumbers, red/green mizuna , tomatoes, corn, turnips/radishes/baby radishes, slice of pumpkin/red potatoes, sweet potatoes,leeks/ onions.

Large box, in addition: Arugula/New Zealand spinach, beets, Jerusalem artichoke/yard-long beans/okra.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, beets/baby radishes, slice of pumpkin/red potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks/ onions, arugula.

Large box, in addition: New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard/kale, red/green mizuna, okra/yard long beans/Jerusalem artichoke.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #323, January 23rd-25th 2017

Who Are You, Strange-Looking Vegetable? 

Today’s riddle: what looks like a huge carrot, smells like a radish and has leaves like a turnip??

(And, yes! He’s been spotted of late in your Chubeza box!)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to introduce you to the strange but extraordinary………(drumroll)………Mr. Daikon!

But who and what is he?

The daikon is a white elongated radish of Japanese origin. Contrary to popular belief, the radish is not a boring product at all, but rather a colorful, diversified vegetable ranging in size and shape from tiny cherry-like radishes all the way to huge basketball-sized models. The elongated radishes vary from small finger-sized varieties to whopper radishes measuring 60 cm long and 15 cm wide! And the radish color scale stretches from red and purple to different hues of pink, yellow and green, to white. There are even black (Spanish) radishes, with a black peel and white interior.

The Chinese, Egyptians, Greek and Romans have been well acquainted with radishes for thousands of years. In the Mediterranean area, we can track the presence of radishes back to 2,000 years BC, with the oldest illustration of a daikon (to date) appearing on the pyramid walls nearly 4,000 years ago! In ancient Greece, radishes were greatly revered, and golden radish icons were used to worship Apollo. In comparison, the beet came in second with silver icons, with turnips rating only the lead version. Roman lore includes mention of different-shaped radishes in various sizes: round and elongated, small and large. Most of the radishes of the time must have been jumbo size, similar to today’s Far East varieties. The small radishes were introduced to us from the middle of the 16thcentury. The radish is also one of the first crops introduced to the Native Americans by Columbus. Around the 1500s, it was already known in Mexico and Haiti. To this day, there is an interesting radish festival that takes place in southern Mexico during this time of the year.

In Israel, the radish was known during the Mishnaic Era. Its seeds were used to make oil for lamps, and it was grown for food.  It was considered a delicacy that was served to kings and rulers all year long: “These are Antoninus and Rabbi, whose table never lacked radish, lettuce or cucumbers, neither in summer nor winter!” (Berachot, 41)

Such is the low-maintenance radish, which can be grown with relative ease throughout the entire year. It even tolerates the hot Israeli summer, although it prefers the coolness of winter, spring and autumn.

While Europeans are partial to the small, round reddish-pink radish, the East opted for the larger sizes, thus the species that developed there are the longer, paler types. The daikon is a Japanese white radish, as its name “big (dai) root (kon)” testifies. It looks a little like a big smooth, white carrot (but there are also yellowish, green and black varieties). Size-wise, daikon varieties run the full gamut from giant-size to small, depending on their specie and conditions of growth.

daikon-colors

The daikon is especially adored in the Far East. It is renowned for its ability to aid digestion and purify and relieve the respiratory system. The daikon constitutes one-third of the vegetables grown in Egypt (by weight). These radishes are usually preserved in huge barrels and added to food as pickles. And to top it all – the daikon is simply tasty. Its flavor and texture are somewhere between the radish and turnip, with a bite that is milder than the radish and with a wintery freshness that only such a root can attain,  which is why you might recognize it as that grated vegetable served with sushi, alongside the pickled ginger. There its aim is to “cleanse” your taste buds in between bites of sushi so as to maximize the full experience of each roll.

We make the most use of the radish root (or more accurately, the neck of the root), but in different areas in the world other parts are used as well. There are species grown solely to extract oil from the seeds, while others are developed for their leaves.

From the time of the Mishna, the radish has been known to aid digestion: “the radish cuts the food” (Avoda Zara, 11), and as a plant that reduces fever and aids in relieving the common cold. “The radish is good for those ailed by [lack of] sunshine” (Rashi, Avoda Zara, 28). These claims are supported today by the proven nutritional value of radishes and daikons, rich in vitamin C and enzymes that aid digestion, explaining the long tradition of their medicinal remedies.

In an article in praise of the daikon, Rebecca Wood, a guru of whole natural food, writes that the daikon purifies the blood, improves energy flow, accelerates metabolism, purifies the kidneys and cleanses the lungs. She suggests regular consumption of daikon to prevent the common cold, flu and respiratory infections. Wood touts daikon as a remedy for hangovers, sore throat, flu and edema, and even claims it’s a cancer-preventer. Click here for her personal daikon brew for treating asthma, bronchitis, the common cold, indigestion and even for dieting. Truly, a wonder vegetable.

Back to Chubeza, we know a daikon is ready to be harvested when it starts peeking out of earth. As this lanky vegetable matures, it grows so big that the space allotted for it in the earth becomes crowded. Thus it starts pushing out above ground, looking like this:

daikon

And now, for a little daikon comic relief: the beloved daikon lends itself brilliantly to food sculpting events where world-renowned chefs and laymen alike come to sculpt dinner. Here are some especially adorable daikon-made characters:

daikon_sculpture   daikon_sculpture1

 

Tips for Storing Radishes and Daikon:

-To prevent radishes (and daikons) from becoming “dry as a radish,” they must be refrigerated. First, remove the leaves to prevent them from drawing moisture from the root. Afterwards, place the root in a plastic bag or sealed container in the refrigerator.
– If, despite it all, the radish becomes shriveled and pathetic, place it in a bowl of ice water to revive the radish and restore its firm texture.
– A Japanese secret for cooking daikon: use rinse water from rice, or a bit of rice vinegar, to retain the daikon’s whiteness and temper the bitter, sharp taste.
– In cooking, peel the daikon to reduce the bitterness found primarily in the peeling and to prevent stringiness. The root itself is sweet and crunchy.

Check our recipe section for a host of delectable daikon recipes in a variety of delicious uses.

Go ahead and try them…Enjoy!!
Wishing us all a great week,
Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, lettuce, fennel, cucumbers, cabbage/red cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, celery/celeriac, daikon/kohlrabi. Small boxes only: scallions/leeks

Large box, in addition: Fresh onions, beets/snow peas/ fava beans, mesclun mix(“baby”)/arugula/mizuna, Jerusalem artichokes/ broccoli greens/kale.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, lettuce, cucumbers/peppers, green/red cabbage, broccoli/cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, celery/celeriac, daikon/kohlrabi/white turnip, scallions/leeks/fresh onions, mesclun mix(“baby”)/arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Fennel/beets, snow peas/ fava beans, Jerusalem artichokes/ broccoli greens.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!