Community Gardening Restaurants

Radishes

 

Radishes are an easy crop to grow and cultivate. They are a good beginners crop, and should be attempted if you are new to gardening. Radishes grow best in a cool climate, making it a very successful crop around the lower mainland. The ideal air temperature for radish growth is between ten and eighteen degrees Celsius, making late spring and early autumn the best times to plant and harvest radishes. They grow rapidly and, in proper conditions, will only take three to four weeks to mature. They can take up to eight weeks to mature in colder temperatures. Since they mature so quickly, radishes can be continually planted and produced through their growing season. Plant more radishes every two weeks to continue their harvest. It can also be beneficial to thin your radishes to about an inch apart, this will allow the radishes to grow larger. Considering how quickly they mature, do not worry about pulling some radishes because you can always plant more while the temperature is still right. They are also great accompaniment plants. Their strong odour will repel many pests from your garden, such as cucumber beetles, tomato hornworms, and squash bugs. Radishes work well with other vegetable crops, and they seem to thrive when grown in close association with cucumbers, lettuce, peas, and chervil.

Radishes are consumed throughout the world. They are an ideal addition to salads because of their crunchy texture and various colours. You will find radishes that are red, white, yellow, purple, and even black. Radishes are low in calories, with only sixteen calories in every one hundred gram serving. Also, in the same size serving, radishes provide you with eighteen percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Normally only the swollen taproot is eaten, but the entire plant is edible and the leaves are sometimes steamed as a leafy green or used in soups and stews. The taproot itself, although usually eaten raw, can also be steamed to make a tasty vegetable side dish.

If you are in the Vancouver area, there are many restaurants mixing fresh radishes into their dishes. Fable, on West 4th, has radishes in their green salad. España, on Denman Street, has a beet, radish, and labnah salad and they also include radishes in their roast pork belly and octopus appetizer. For a more unique, radish centered dish, try Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant, on West Broadway, which serves fried radish cakes.

You can buy farm fresh radishes at nearly any farmer’s market around British Columbia right now. The UBC farmer’s market certainly has fresh radishes, as it is where I took this article’s photo this past weekend. You can also buy radish microgreens that are grown by SkyHarvest, Canada’s only certified organic urban farm. These microgreens are found at Choices Market, which has locations in Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano, Yaletown, and Commercial Drive. Local farms are also growing radishes right now. Stop by Cropthorne Farm in Delta, Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm in Chilliwack, Howard Wong Farms in Matsqui, KBF Nursery and Farm Market in Abbotsford, Mary’s Garden in Surrey, or Ralph’s Farm Market in Langely to buy fresh radishes directly from the farmers.

 

Websites consulted for this post:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radish

http://www.almanac.com/plant/radishes

http://www.espanarestaurant.ca/menu/

http://fablekitchen.ca

http://skyharvest.ca

http://www.bcfarmfresh.com/farm-products/radishes/

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g154943-d878121-Reviews-Happy_Valley_Seafood_Restaurant-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

 

Community Gardening

Farmer's Market Garlic

 

Humans have been using garlic for over seven thousand years. The Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Vikings all used garlic. It is as fundamental to the human experience as romance, religion, or commerce. Take a trip to your local farmer’s market and find tons of fresh garlic all through the summer. Garlic stores well if kept in a warm and dry environment, and the garlic you buy at the market today can be used well into the winter, allowing you to avoid bland garlic from the store for months.

If you wish to grow your own garlic you can nearly get started. A good experiment is to take a bulb of garlic and plant it in autumn, about five weeks before there is a chance of freezing. Be sure to plant it deep enough so that it will not freeze, or else it will rot with its thaw. Garlic planted in the autumn should be ready to harvest by the late spring and early summer.

Garlic is the base for so much cooking. It is like onion, olive oil, or salt and pepper. It can go into just about anything as a base and add lots of flavour. It also mixes easily with a few simple ingredients to make delicious sauces. Basil, garlic, and Parmesan make pesto. Yogurt, garlic, and salt create tzatziki. Garlic, egg yolks, and olive oil form aioli.

Although most scientific studies on the health benefits of garlic have come back as inconclusive, there are many theories, myths and stories revolving around the health benefits of garlic. Take a listen to the people in Les Blanks 1980 documentary Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. They claim it helps with dysentery, heart problems, mosquito bites, sunburns, and longevity. Garlic was used in World War I and II as a way to prevent gangrene.

Garlic is a world-renowned food. It has many links to traditions and myths all around the world. Perhaps the most common to us is its ability to repel vampires. But the Hindu’s and Buddhists note how garlic fuels sexual desire. For Nowruz, the Persian calendar New Year, it is part of the Seven-Seen table, which is a traditional New Year’s display that also includes wheat, pudding, olive, apple, sumac fruit, and vinegar. Muslims are told to avoid eating garlic before going to the mosque as to not distract the other worshippers due to its pungent smell.

Garlic can be found in virtually every culinary culture in the world. To eat garlic is to be one with all of humanity as garlic’s roots indeed run that deep. On your next farmer’s market trip be sure to pick up some garlic. The fresh garlic from farmers offers a much fuller flavour than store-bought garlic and it can be kept for months if stored correctly. Use it in nearly any dish to add more flavour. And be sure to catch the Metro Vancouver garlic festival, which happens every year in late August (this years festival was just last Sunday, August 21).

 

Websites consulted for this article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic

http://metrovangarlicfest.ca

Link to Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers: https://vimeo.com/111386326

Gardening Recipes Restaurants

Basil in the Garden

Basil is a wonderful and versatile herb that is found frequently in Italian and Southeast Asian cooking. Known as the “king of herbs,” basil has a long history as an herbal symbol in Christianity as well as having an unusual association with scorpions. If you have been growing basil, now is the time to start using it up as it does not keep growing once the weather starts to cool off.

Basil grows best in hot, dry climates. It is very sensitive to cold and that is why it is best to plant your basil quite late in the season when there is no chance of frost. If your outdoor climate is not very dry, as is the case for most of Vancouver, basil can be grown indoors by a window.

If you grew a lot of basil this year and do not quite know what to do with it all, it can be kept for a short time in the refrigerator, or for a longer time in the freezer. If you are going to put your basil in the freezer, you should first blanche your basil leaves quickly in boiling water for no more than 5 seconds. After you blanche, quickly put the basil in an ice bath and then dry. After the basil leaves are dried, put them in the freezer.

If you did not grow your own basil this year but would like to taste the herb, there are a number of delicious Italian restaurants around Vancouver that serve dishes involving basil. Basil Pasta Bar on Davie Street has a pesto shrimp linguine, as well as a spaghetti puttanesca and lemon chicken fettuccine. Nicli Antica Pizzeria on East Cordova Street has the pesto B. B. T. pizza and the diavola pizza. Pronto, on Cambie Street, has a caprese salad, pasta pomodoro, and margherita pizza. All of these delicious dishes use basil to an extent.

Finally, Mama Friesen has a delicious pesto recipe to share. Done largely in a food processor, pesto is a great addition to all sorts of dishes including pasta sauces. It also freezes well and can be stored into the winter so you can have that fresh basil taste all year around. The recipe is as follows:

2-3 cups fresh basil leaves

2-3 cloves of garlic (preferably Russian)

100-gram package of toasted pine nuts

Ground pepper

½ teaspoon Sea salt

¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 Lemon (optional)

Add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, pepper (as much as you prefer), and Parmesan into a food processor. Whirl the ingredients together until they are mixed. Slowly drizzle your olive oil into the mixture through the feed tube while the processor is still running. If you wish, you can add the juice from your lemon at this time too. Mix well.

Store the pesto in a Tupperware. Drizzle some olive oil on the top of the stored pesto to keep it from turning brown (the lemon helps with this too).

 

Websites consulted for this article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil

http://www.thekitchn.com/3-tips-for-preserving-fresh-basil-all-year-long-tips-from-the-kitchn-207032