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!

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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.

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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

ֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹֹ——————————-

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

______________________________________ 

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!

Aley Chubeza #221, November 3rd-5th 2014

A Vegetable to Dai(kon) For

Last week ended in joyous downpours. Though the rain finally arrived here Friday morning, it only stayed long enough for a short round, followed by a dry rest-of-the-day. Yet the “precip” returned once again on Saturday night, saturating the thirsty beds. Some 20 millimeters have already landed in our field, a great quantity to open the rainy season. Monday and Tuesday were two more rainy days, and we’re getting greedy now…

You will see traces of this rain on your veggies this week. The peppers are well peppered with muddy drops. As for the various roots plucked out of the wet earth, though we gave them an initial rinse, look for that muddy ring around your sinks and be grateful…

Autumn showers bring cool-season veggies. This Newsletter is devoted to one with Japanese origins, our friendly Daikon – that white elongated radish. (Usually I receive emails and phone calls wondering what that “white and long vegetable looking like a great big carrot is, though I have a feeling it’s a radish…”)

First, some family background: The daikon is an elongated Japanese radish, which proves–contrary to popular belief–that the radish is 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 peeling 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 nearly 4,000 years! 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 the lead version. Roman lore includes mention of different-sized radishes. 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 lanterns, 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 were 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 (there are also yellowish, green and black varieties, and this year we tried a new, darker type). Size-wise, daikon species run the full gamut, from giant-size to small.

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. You might recognize them as that grated vegetable served with sushi, alongside the pickled ginger.

We make the most use of the radish root (or more accurately, the neck of the root), but its green leaves and other parts can be used as well. In China there is one species grown solely to extract oil from its seeds. In Egypt and the East, there are types grown for their leaves.

The radish has been known to aid digestion from the time of the Mishna: “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.

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 hangover, sore throat, and edema, and even claims it’s a cancer-preventer. Click here for her personal brew for treating asthma, bronchitis, the common cold, indigestion and even for dieting.

And to top it all – the daikon is simply tasty. Its taste 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.

דייקון

And now, for a little daikon comic relief, the tale of the daikon local hero:

In 2006 Japanese newspaper readers and television viewers were gripped by the vegetable drama unfolding in the small western town of Aioi. Daikon are among the most common of Japanese edible roots, and Little Dai, as he is fondly known, was remarkable in only one respect: rather than growing in the fields, he was an urban radish who pushed himself up through solid asphalt on a roadside pavement. He first appeared in July and, rather than extracting him and filling in the hole, the local council honored him with a signboard bearing the words: “Observe with affection.” Locals christened him Dokonjo Daikon, “the daikon with fighting spirit,” or, more colloquially, “the radish with balls.”

But after a few months, the residents were shocked to discover that an anonymous hand had amputated the stubborn root. The attempted radish murder opened the TV news broadcasts, giving the gory details that the upper half of the vegetable had been found nearby. Local authorities announced that the amputated half of the radish was now immersed in water in City Hall, in the hope to keep it alive, perhaps make it bloom.

As to why so many people fell in love with the amiable root usually found on their table, a spokesman noted, “People disappointed from the difficult times drew solace from its earnest, strong will to live.”

Surprising, isn’t it? Who would have imagined that this mundane, everyday, conventional radish could provoke such a drama and emotional outpour…

Tips for Storing and Using Radishes and Daikon:

-To prevent radishes (and daikons) from becoming “dry as a radish,” they must be refrigerated. First, remove the leaves so that they will not draw moisture from the root. Afterwards, place the root in a 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.

This week I assembled many recipes from the past and some new ones for a variety of delicious uses for this unique vegetable.

Enjoy, and good luck!

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

_____________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Sweet potatoes, green bell peppers/eggplant, lettuce/mizuna/arugula, tomatoes, leeks/garlic chives, beans/lubia, dill, cucumbers, carrots, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, daikon

Large box, in addition: Celery, beets/fennel/turnips, coriander, slice of pumpkin

Wednesday: cilantro/dill, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, lettuce/arugula, tomatoes, leek/chive, slice of pumpkin, daikon/turnip, carrots, green beans/yard long beans/fresh black eye peas (lubia)/Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes.

Large box, in addition: celery, eggplants/green peppers, fennel/kohlrabi/beets.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, pomegranate juice 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 #176, October 28th-30th 2013

This week we are delighted to introduce Roy Borochov, a neighbor from Kfar Bin Nun and one of Chubeza’s first clients, and the Gargir flour mills. Those of you who attended the Open Day may have seen (or even experimented with) the lovely mills Roy brought along to grind flour for pita.

Roy, the floor is yours:

When we established Gargir, we aimed to allow each and every one to consume homemade, healthy food. In our viewpoint, one day soon every household will own a home flour grinder. The ability to personally prepare the most basic food product, bread, is a great privilege. You owe it to yourself and your family members to produce healthy bread.

The time that ensues from grinding to use is critical in order to maintain the nutrients of the cereal grain. Once it is ground, the process of oxidation begins and the minerals and vitamins break down, diminishing the nutritional value of the flour. With our products, you can prepare the flour at home from a wide variety of cereals, in the quantity of your choice and with optimal freshness, thus retaining the nutritious benefits.

We offer you home flour grinders based on millstones. These grinders can grind any non-fatty cereal grain (wheat, spelt, rye, barley, hummus, corn and others). We carry a variety of models, from the compact and practical “Easy” model, to those with an ability to produce 125 gr. flour per minute, or the bigger ones, Billy200, Octagon2 (our flagship product) which can grind 220 gr. of your homemade flour in just one minute.

Naturally, as veteran Chubeza clients, we chose to join forces with Chubeza and open another door for you to healthy life.

Take a look at the prices of our grinders. You can make the order via the Chubeza online ordering system or directly from Gargir.

Important: if you order a grinder to be delivered with your vegetable box, please be certain to coordinate this with us so that someone is at home to receive it.

Bon Appetite! To your health!

____________________________

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 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 a small radish and daikon) can be just as vital in a potion to ease the common cold, cough, mucous buildup, hoarseness, coughing, infections and other winter spells. 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 into 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, tat soi 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 (kohlrabi) or the leaves (mustard, cabbage, tat soi and others) and also the roots, to whom this newsletter is dedicated today: the 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–many parts of these vegetables can be eaten. For instance, turnip greens are very tasty, and some turnip varieties are grown specifically for their leaves and not roots. Leaves of the large radish are bitter and coarse, but the greens of small radishes can certainly be used in culinary pursuits. The French add small 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 those oils permitted for Sabbath candle lighting: “At the outset, one is permitted to use other oils – e.g., radish oil, sesame oil, turnip oil, or the like. It is forbidden to use only those which were explicitly mentioned by our Sages.” (Mishnah Torah, Shabbat, Chapter 5, halakha 11)

And now, some words on each of these vegetables:

The turnip is an ancient cultivated growth 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 the cough, hoarseness, mucous, 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.

There are many varieties of radishes, differing in size, shape and color, as well as pungency. At Chubeza, we grow radishes and daikons. Here are some illustrations of several radish beauties:

small colorful radishes
Black Radish
daikon 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 had 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 the rest of the 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 please your hearts by adding some coolness to this year’s scorching October.

Impatiently awaiting the rain, which may hopefully arrive next week. Keep your fingers crossed, like this Daikon fella we harvested today…

 

Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, eggplants/bell peppers, pumpkin, tomatoes, lettuce,    cucumbers, arugula, carrots, sweet potatoes Small boxes only: radishes, turnips

In the large box, in addition: Beets, daikon, garlic chives, lubia/beans, tot soi/kale/New Zealand spinach

Wednesday: daikon radish/small radish, lettuce, cucumbers, green peppers, cilantro/parsley, sweet potatoes, carrots, arugula, pumpkin, tomatoes, green beans/lubia – in small boxes

In the large box, in addition: turnip, kale/New Zealand spinach, garlic chive/leeks, green beans/lubia/eggplants

Aley Chubeza #133, November 5th-7th 2012

Last week we billed your credit cards for the October vegetable deliveries. Please check your account in our Internet-based order system. Enter your account, then add a backslash and the word “account” at the end of the browser url.

Here is what it should look like: http://chubeza.easyfarm.co.il/user_page/account

All going well, this should display the history of your payments and purchases. Please make sure the bill is correct, and let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words סה”כ לתשלום 0 (total for payment 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, it means we were not able to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us.

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Please note: the price of a 30-egg tray will now be 52 NIS.

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Our feelings towards the rain are akin to those of a person walking in the desert and viewing a mirage: it looks so close, but as you get nearer, it slip-slides-away and the hot weather is back. But then again, aren’t those dark rain clouds in the distance? At least we’re not in the hurricane belt……

When we checked last week’s weather forecast, it looked like there was a chance of rain on Monday. We were so happy, but as the days passed, it became clear that the coveted rain only moved farther away, giving us a wet wink from the distance. So we continue to wait for rain to bless the fields of Kfar Bin Nun. Hopefully, maybe, this coming weekend. The forecast does call for a rainy weekend, Inshallah!

Indeed, our vegetables will be overjoyed to receive the rain and some cooler weather. But still, they grow pretty well without it, even in the unseasonable dryness and heat of this November. The autumn and winter vegetables are developing, maturing and ripening. One of them, which surprised some of you last week, is the daikon – a Japanese elongated white radish. This week we’ll write about him and provide lots of recipes.

 

A Vegetable to Dai(kon) For

 

First, some family background: The daikon is an elongated Japanese radish, which proves–contrary to popular belief–that the radish is 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 peeling 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 nearly 4,000 years! 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 the lead version. Roman lore includes mention of different-sized radishes. 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 16th century. 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 lanterns, 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 were 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 (there are also yellowish, green and black varieties, and this year we tried a new, darker type). Size-wise, daikon species run the full gamut, from giant-size to smallץ

 

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 pickled in huge barrels and added to food as pickles. You might recognize them as that grated vegetable served with sushi, alongside the pickled ginger.

We make the most use of the radish root (or more accurately, the neck of the root), but its green leaves and other parts can be used as well. In China there is one species grown solely to extract oil from its seeds. In Egypt and the East, there are types grown for their leaves.

The radish has been known to aid digestion from the time of the Mishna: “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.

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 hangover, sore throat, and edema, and even claims it’s a cancer-preventer. Click here for her personal brew for treating asthma, bronchitis, the common cold, indigestion and even for dieting.

And to top it all – the daikon is simply tasty. Its taste 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.

דייקון

 

And now, for a little daikon comic relief, the tale of the daikon local hero:

In 2006 Japanese newspaper readers and television viewers were gripped by the vegetable drama unfolding in the small western town of Aioi. Daikon are among the most common of Japanese edible roots, and Little Dai, as he is fondly known, was remarkable in only one respect: rather than growing in the fields, he was an urban radish who pushed himself up through solid asphalt on a roadside pavement. He first appeared in July and, rather than extracting him and filling in the hole, the local council honored him with a signboard bearing the words: “Observe with affection.” Locals christened him Dokonjo Daikon, “the daikon with fighting spirit,” or, more colloquially, “the radish with balls.”

But after a few months, the residents were shocked to discover that an anonymous hand had amputated the stubborn root. The attempted radish murder opened the TV news broadcasts, giving the gory details that the upper half of the vegetable had been found nearby. Local authorities announced that the amputated half of the radish was now immersed in water in City Hall, in the hope to keep it alive, perhaps make it bloom.

As to why so many people fell in love with the amiable root usually found on their table, a spokesman noted, “People disappointed from the difficult times drew solace from its earnest, strong will to live.”

Surprising, isn’t it? Who would have imagined that this mundane, everyday, conventional radish could provoke such a drama and emotional outpour…

Tips for Storing and Using Radishes and Daikon:

-To prevent radishes (and daikons) from becoming “dry as a radish,” they must be refrigerated. First, remove the leaves so that they will not draw moisture from the root. Afterwards, place the root in a 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.

This week I assembled many recipes from the past and some new ones for a variety of delicious uses for this unique vegetable.

Enjoy, and good luck!

Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, arugula, carrots or zucchini,  tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cilantro, Dutch or English cucumbers, beets or cauliflower or broccoli, radishes/daikon/turnips, pumpkin, leeks (small boxes only)

In the large box, in addition: short lubia (cowpeas) or okra or long Thai lubia, scallions, New Zealand spinach, eggplant.

Wednesday: chive or garlic chive, arugula or tatsoi, slice of pumpkin, sweet potatoes, lettuce, dill or parsley, cucumbers, beets, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants – small boxes only

In the large box, in addition: red peppers, daikon or turnips, New Zealand spinach or kale, one of these: okra or green cowpeas (black eyed peas) or broccoli or cauliflower or Jerusalem artichoke

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DAIKON DELIGHTS:

Roxanne’s Daikon Salad
-1 c. daikon, coarsely grated
-1 t. rice vinegar (or apple or white wine vinegar)
-1 t. soy sauce
-1 t. toasted sesame oil (dark)
-Optional: fresh grated or powdered ginger and/or a bit of sugar

Store in sealed container. Tastes best after refrigerated several hours or overnight.

Hot Daikon and Carrot Salad
(What to do with all those daikons and green onions)
Howard from Jerusalem writes:
I got this recipe from Elisheva Blum of Jerusalem. We used to leave the daikon until last, not knowing how to use it, other than to throw it in soup. We also usually have too many green onions. This is a great and delicious solution:

Ingredients:
Daikon
Carrots
Green onions
1 T soy sauce
Olive oil (or sesame seed oil)
Honey
Ginger (optional)

Preparation:
– Shred equal amounts of daikon and carrots.
– Add chopped green onions.
– Sauté in olive oil (or sesame seed oil, says Elisheva.)
– Add 1 T soy sauce and a touch of honey.
– We think fresh ginger would go well with it, but haven’t tried it.
Serve over brown rice.
We finished it all in one sitting. Problem solved.

Lobsong’s daikon recipes—two variations of a similar base:

Daikon and Cheese
(I tried it and it was excellent!)

Ingredients:
Oil for frying
1 chopped onion
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 chopped tomatoes
2-4 daikons (depending on size) peeled and sliced into match sticks (2-4 cm. wide)
Garam masala (or other spice of your choice)
Hard yellow cheese, grated
Chopped cilantro

Preparation:
Sauté onion and garlic. Add chopped tomatoes and continue to lightly fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add daikon sticks and spices and continue to cook for around 7 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add grated cheese and cover for 5-10 minutes to melt cheese.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Daikon and Meat

Ingredients:
Oil for frying
1 chopped onion
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 chopped tomatoes
½ kilo chopped meat
2 daikons, peeled and sliced into rings (or any shape desired)
Black pepper
Water to cover
½ kilo dough (we mixed flour and water till dough was not sticky)
Chopped cilantro

Preparation:
Sauté onion and garlic, add chopped tomato and continue to lightly fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add meat, sauté/cook until meat browns.
Add daikon slices, season with black pepper and mix lightly.
Add water to cover and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, prepare the dough, taking care that it is not sticky, but not over-floured.
Roll dough into a long pipe, then stretch it (in the air) into a very thin triangle.
Using your fingers, clip the dough into small pieces and drop into mixture boiling in pan.
Add water as desired—For a thick stew, do not add any water. For a thinner dish, add water and adjust spices.
Add cilantro last.

Tibetan Thenthuk Soup

Ingredients:
Oil for frying
1 bunch scallions (bulbs)
Parsnip and celeriac (the essential ingredients which flavor the soup)
Daikon
Tomato
Additional hard winter vegetables of your choice: kohlrabi, carrot, potato, etc.
Add greens, if desired: turnip greens, or, preferred in Lobsong’s recipe, daikon and radish leaves, or any other. Best are relatively stiff greens such as kale, Swiss chard
Lamb bones (optional)
~ ½ kilo flour
Water
Oil (to oil your hands)
Salt
Soy sauce/vinegar
Chopped green part of scallions

Preparation:
-Chop all vegetables and greens into relatively small pieces.
-Heat oil over high flame, add chopped vegetables, and place chopped greens on top. Mix for approximately 10 minutes till vegetables are just soft.
-For a meat soup, add bones now.
-Add water and bring to a boil.
-Prepare dough: Knead flour and water till dough is stiff but pliable. Should make 400 gms of dough.
-Separate the dough into 4 or 5 pieces, and roll each into the shape of a thin hotdog. Oil hands and stretch each “hotdog” into strips, pushing and pulling until obtaining a long noodle approximately 4 cm. wide.
-When vegetables become soft and soup is nearly done, clip noodles with your fingers and pour 3-cm.-long pieces into the boiling soup.
-Continue cooking soup with noodles for another 2-3 minutes and turn off heat.
To serve: Sprinkle several drops of soy sauce or vinegar (whichever you prefer) and garnish with chopped green onion slices.

Braised daikon

Vegan daikon kimchi