Some of the box customers will be receiving something that they might not recognise this week. These are winter radishes; the Oriental “mooli” or “daikon”, and the “Black Spanish Round”.
The mooli resembles a large, smooth parsnip with a snow white colour of skin and flesh. The black Spanish has a dark skin, like scorched wood, but a pure white interior. Winter radishes differ from the more well known small red radishes used in salads, as they can grow to a large size without becoming woody, and can be cooked as well as used raw.
As a raw salad vegetable, grated or sliced thinly and mixed with leaves and other ingredients, they have a mild spicy kick to their flavour. The mooli is milder flavoured than the black Spanish. But they both can be stir-fried, casseroled, used in soups, or roasted like swedes or turnips. They lose their heat when cooked, but develop a marvellous, strong, pungent flavour in the process.
Radishes were among the earliest cultivated vegetables in human history, and large radishes such as these predated the more familiar small red radish. The earliest radishes of all had a black skin like the BSR; the white and red varieties being cultivated later. Our mooli aren’t quite as handsome as the ones in the picture; our soil is too heavy and stony to achieve that perfect length and shape, but the flavour and nutrition (packed with vitamin C) are the same.
Later in the year we’ll be able to present you with a third type of winter radish, the “China Rose”, which has a long tapering form and a gorgeous, scarlet red skin. Try these links for some recipe ideas.