Using the Whole Plant

Learning new things and growing and using new vegetables are fun and rewarding for me.  This year, for the first time, I planted radish and turnip seeds.

As a child, I never was a big fan of radishes.  Since I remember my dad enjoying them, I thought I would give them a try.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover I like radishes!  I planted a variety of types.  Some were mild, and some had quite a bite.  I do not recall what brought the idea to my mind, but I thought, “Why not eat the leaves of the radish plant?”  So this spring, we enjoyed the leaves mixed with other greens in salad.  They also make a nice addition to stir-fries.  I have also air-dried some leaves to crumble in soups during the winter.

During the winter, I bought turnips at the grocery store when they were on the reduced produce rack.  Having never eaten turnips, I thought it would be good for us to try a new vegetable.  I was surprised how mild they tasted.  We planted some of our own this spring.  Recently some of the turnips were ready to harvest, so I pulled them.  Having heard of turnip greens,  I again thought, “Why not use the leaves instead of throwing them out?”  After cutting the leaves into strips with kitchen scissors, they taste delicious in stir fry.  Another way to prepare them is to send them through the food processor.  Quarter the turnips and potatoes.  Place diced leaves, turnips, and potatoes together with a bit of garlic, onion powder, parsley, butter, and celery salt in a pot.  Add water to cover vegetables about half way.  Cook until soft, and mash.  Very tasty!

For me, it has been gratifying to realize the whole plant is edible and nutritious.  God has provided for us such good gifts to nourish our bodies.

My next experiment is using carrot tops.  I understand they are a delicacy in some places!

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