Early season gardening can be a challenge on your palate. Yes, you can grow an abundance of radishes, but we've never been big fans of the tangy little balls of fire which is why we've never bothered to grow them. This year, I planted parsnips early and it was recommended to plant radishes alongside to mark the rows. Radishes emerge from the soil quickly whereas parsnips take what seems like forever.
So for the first time I planted a bunch of radishes - as row markers with no real intentions of eating them.
Without anything else to eat from the garden these days we've been experimenting with the radishes and have been pleasantly surprised. The red round variety we planted is sweet and not overwhelmingly spicy. But the real discovery has been the mild, refreshing radish greens. We've been stir frying them, putting them in salads and just crunching on them raw. The have a complex but pleasant flavor with not a hint of the bitterness you find in kale. I was familiar with turnip greens but had not heard about the virtues of radish greens. They are probably very similar. (The white icicle radish variety is a little spicy for our taste, but its greens are also tasty.)
Next up on this year's garden experiments is our first crop of beets. I'm not a big fan of the beet roots but beet greens are also good to eat. They have the look of chard. We're discovering that the real stars of the early season garden are not so much the root crops that dominate the early season offerings, but the greens that top them off. Look for these tasty greens at your local farmers' market.
Foodista has a post up titled Turnip Redemption extolling the virtues of baby turnips. Maybe we'll try to get some turnips into the garden too.