Farmers markets are becoming more popular than ever. It’s a combination of knowing where your food is coming from, shopping local, and eating healthier that seems to be the reason. However, there’s a large variety of produce being introduced that the majority of shoppers are not really interested in trying.
We know that August is the best time to harvest all types of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, tomatillos, and other familiar produce. These are the staples of our summer. But, it’s time to try new things, to venture out of the familiar and into the unknown. Here’s a variety of veggies that are unheralded, but full of options. They only need a chance!
1) Daikon Radish
Milder than a normal radish, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking a Daikon Radish looks like it belongs in the neighborhood of a carrot. Growing to be about a foot long, the daikon radish is a long root that looks like a white carrot. It is available at markets in peak times from mid July through the end of September.
But, just what can you do with it? Some people choose to eat them like carrots, preferring the mild spicy flavor. However, here’s something that is simple to do, but can increase the flavor.
Daikon Radish Chips
Daikon Radish, washed, peeled and sliced thinly (almost see-through)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Turn over broiler on to 400
Mix the daikon slices with the oil, paprika, and salt & pepper. (Make sure the oil is lightly used. Too much will burn the slices)
Lay slices on a cookie sheet
Cooking time will vary, so watch closely
If you’ve got a hankering for a slightly bitter leafy green, this is the veggie for you. Endive is available through August and into September. You can read about the very difficult process of growing and harvesting the finicky green, but the taste is worth it. Try this recipe for Endive Salad and let us know how it went.
Endive Salad w/ Walnuts, Pears, and Gorgonzola (from Simply Recipes)
3 Endive heads, sliced lengthwise, then crosswise in 1/2 inch slices
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp crumble gorgonzola
1 bartlett pear, cored and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Teaspoons cider vinegar
Sprinkle of kosher salt
Place the endive in a large bowl. Toss in the chopped walnuts, gorgonzola, and chopped bartletts. Toss to desired mixture
Lace olive oil on salad. Add cider vinegar over salad, next. Toss to desired mixture.
Kohlrabis are a tricky food to get around. They can be one of the most delicious veggies you’ll find at the market, but you have to be careful. If you pick one too large, the texture and flavor will be off, (some describe it as a “woody” flavor). The key to choosing a good one is to either get your kohlrabi in the early part of the season, when they’re smaller and more juicy. The other method would be to grab a variation called Gigantar, which is exactly like it sounds. These are giant kohlrabis which maintain the crunch and flavor (like a mix between broccoli and a cabbage heart). The only downside to picking these large ones is deciding what to do with all the deliciousness. Here’s a detailed (but delicious!) recipe to help out:
Vegetarian Spring Rolls w/ Shredded Kohlrabi.
1 3/4 oz thin rice sticks
6 oz marinated tofu, cut in dominoe shape
1 medium carrot (shredded)
1/2 pound kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp ginger, cut julienne
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons mint leaves
7 8in rice flour spring roll wrappers
Place the rice sticks in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes, or until the noodles are pliable, and drain. Transfer the noodles to another bowl. Using kitchen scissors, cut the noodles in half, into roughly 6-inch lengths. Leave the warm water in the bowl for softening the wrappers.
Meanwhile, toss the shredded kohlrabi with salt to taste and let sit in a colander placed in the sink for 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid and toss with the carrot, ginger, chopped cilantro and slivered Thai basil or mint.
One at a time, place a rice flour wrapper in the bowl of warm water until just softened. Remove from the water and drain briefly on a kitchen towel. Place the softened wrapper on your work surface and put a line of tofu slices in the middle of the wrapper, slightly nearer the edge closest to you, leaving a 1 1/2-inch margin on the sides. Place a small handful of noodles over the tofu, then place a handful of the shredded vegetable mixture over the noodles. Lay a couple of sprigs of cilantro and a Thai basil leaf or a couple of mint leaves on top. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll up tightly. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve. – Thanks to NY Times for the recipe.
You are going to be in for a treat with Jicama (pronounced HICK-a-muh). With a taste that crosses snap peas and water chestnuts with the texture of a fresh pear and juicy apple. These are fantastic to eat right out of the basket (after peeling). You can eat them with hummus, in stir fries, or just eat them fresh. These will please most any palate, but here’s a recipe that will please everyone:
Jicama Salsa Recipe:
2 cups peeled and chopped jicama
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder to taste
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 medium cucumber, peeeled and chopped
1 medium orange, peeled and chopped
In a large bowl, combine jicama, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder, salt, cucumber, and orange
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
Serve with chips