December Harvests

December has brought our first really cold weather of the season (for us), but the garden keeps on giving. The cold frames and greenhouse are protecting many of the plants, but others are doing well unprotected despite the cold.

komatsuna leaves (click on any image to enlarge)

This week we enjoyed some komatsuna I harvested from the greenhouse. I stir-fried it briefly, and it made a nice green side dish for baked chicken, along with some sweet potatoes that I roasted. This meal was for our Dark Days Challenge, and was made from all local ingredients except for the oil and salt. The chicken came from our CSA and the sweet potatoes, komatsuna, rosemary and garlic came from HA. I like simple meals that highlight the quality ingredients!

Baked chicken, sweet potatoes and komatsuna

We still enjoy salads this time of year, though some days I want something warmer to eat. One day at lunch I plucked some arugula leaves from a mini salad box and spinach from the cold frame, added some Red Sails lettuce from the greenhouse and it made for a nice salad. That big red and white thing in the photo below is a China Rose radish.

salad and ingredients

I also harvested most of our fall/winter radishes, which have been growing since late August in one of the beds outside the greenhouse.. We have really been enjoying the China Rose radishes. Though they are getting huge now (the four in the photo below weighed almost five pounds total), they are still mild and tasty. I’ve never grown ‘winter’ radishes before, so I have been pleasantly surprised. We’re storing some of these in the refrigerator and the rest in buckets of damp sand in the cellar.

China Rose radishes

I also grew daikon and beauty heart radishes this fall. With temperatures below 20F forecasted, I decided to pull most of them from the ground. The daikons (Minowase Summer Cross) got huge. Now I am looking for recipe ideas. Any suggestions anyone? I’ve got over seven pounds of them! I am thinking of trying some radish chips, but I know they are good pickled too.

Minowase Summer Cross radishes

I harvested some Lacinato and Rainbow Lacinato kale this week for kale chips. So far all the kales are standing up well to the weather.

Rainbow Lacinato (L) and Lacinato (R) kales

We also enjoyed turnips and turnip greens this week one night for dinner. I am really loving the white ‘salad’ turnips, even though they are pretty big at this point. This year I planted Tokyo Cross, Oasis and Hakurei and they have all done well.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing what we’ve been harvesting here in early December. Thanks to the hefty radishes and turnips we hauled in over 24 pounds from the garden this week. For more gardeners and their December harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions.

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23 Responses to December Harvests

  1. Melissa says:

    Gorgeous harvest! I’m growing turnips for the first time. The green tops are huge! I’m looking forward to cooking the greens and seeing if we like them.

    • Dave says:

      I find the turnip greens to be milder if they grow in cooler weather. Also I think the white ‘salad’ varieties have milder greens. I think turnip greens have become one of my favorite greens.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    Wow those are some big radishes! I hardly ever grow radishes and tend to view them as small garnishes to salads – so no help for you with suggestions other than I have heard they are marvelous when fried. Good work on the dark days challenge meal – delicious, fresh, and local.

    • Dave says:

      Fried radishes? I am guessing they would be good! I was thinking of baking some for chips to cut back on the amount of oil in them.

  3. Norma Chang says:

    So many different ways to use daikon – in stew, soup, stir-fry, pickle…… Use as a substitute for turnip.
    Here is a simple recipe:
    Peel, cut into chunks and make a soup using the carcass from your bake chicken, add a few slices of ginger and chunks of carrots for color, garnish with sliced scallion.
    Mac posted a radish kimchi (I am posting the site without his permission)

    • Dave says:

      I’m definitely going to try them in soup and stir-frys. That soup idea of yours sounds great! I will check out Mac’s kimchi recipe too.

  4. Meat and potatoes was definitely the order of the day for the first challenge week! Your radishes and daikons look amazing too! Up here in the (not so) frozen north, the ground did finally freeze, so any unharvested roots are now vole food.

  5. Mary Hysong says:

    Wow those are some humongous radishes! I’ve just been planting some of the small ones to go with my salads but next fall intend to try some of the bigger ones like yours. I’m thinking they put pickled radish in Hot & Sour Soup, but I”m not sure.

    • Dave says:

      My wife and I went to a sushi making class this summer and we made one sushi roll that had pickled daikon in it. I loved those radishes by themselves!

  6. Rick says:

    Wow, great harvest!! Especially for this time of year. I don’t think I have 24 pounds of produce left in my cold frames and hoop houses to you did great!! I’m interested to see how you use those radishes. The only radishes we have ever grown are the French breakfast types. I’d love to see a post on how you used those up!!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks Rick. Sometimes the challenge isn’t so much to grow the veggies, but to figure out how to use them! I’m going to take Norma’s suggestion and use some of the daikons in soup, and I will try and pickle some too.

  7. Daphne says:

    Oh I love pickled daikons . I’ve never made them though. Those winter radishes are so big. I’ve only tried one variety and didn’t like it as it was too spicy for me. Maybe I should try another kind.

  8. Barbie says:

    Learning the daikon curve myself – so far stirfry and salads, but I’m not too adventurous with cooking. I’d be more likely to try someone elses cooking! LOL

    • Dave says:

      Barbie, I’m not that experienced with radishes except on a salad or with a dip, so I will be expanding my horizons with these!

  9. Robin says:

    Wow, wow, wow! That’s a magnificent harvest! I’m not much of a radish person, so I am of no help. That katmatsuno looks just like my Baby Choi…which always gets huge!
    I really like the look of the Rainbow Lacinato Kale. I have never grown the rainbow variety. So pretty!

  10. Isn’t it amazing that the weather has been so favorable for continued growing.

  11. 24 POUNDS!?!?! Geeesh, what a great harvest. I am so jealous! 🙂 Those radishes looked really great. I’ll have to check into them.


  12. Sharon says:

    Fantastic! I wish we had planned ahead for a winter garden this year. It’s definitely in the works for next year!

  13. Thomas says:

    Those radishes are huge!!! My attempt at growing Chinese radishes ended in failure last year. They never got nearly as big as yours.

  14. Wow! The China Rose radishes are HUGE, I had no idea! Are they spicy, or more on the sweet side? I enjoyed our French Breakfast radishes poached, but they were better, and sweeter, when small. I wonder if these would poach well?

  15. Annie Rie says:

    I love the radishes. We have to plant some next year. Love your pita bread also. It’s on my list to try for Dark Days later this winter.

    I put my huge radishes from our CSA in the slow cooker, with some broth, onions, carrots, defrosted plum tomatoes from the freezer, and whatever else is hanging around and slow cook them until they almost taste like potatoes. I was amazed at how good the China Rose and black radishes tasted. There is a Black radish on a plate on one of my Dark Days Dinners.

    Cheers, Annie

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