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Explore growing, preparing, & preserving local food in rural central Illinois and the community impact of buying local
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Hello, Farmers Market Season: Radishes and Asparagus

With Summer fast approaching, comes the opportunity to spend time outside with neighbors exploring the local farmers markets. On my first trip of the season, I went out to the Taylorville Farmers Market in downtown Taylorville seeking seasonal produce. The farmers market is an excellent place to learn how the producers grow their food, support the local farmers and learn how they prepare their fruits and vegetables to eat. To learn additional tips for shopping at the Farmers Market check out the blog, "First Farmers Market of the Season: Taylorville Farmers Market and Terrific Turnips or find dates and times for the farmers markets in Montgomery, Macoupin, Christian, and Jersey County flyer, Eat Local & Visit a Local Farmers Market.  On this trip, I purchased freshly picked rhubarb, turnip greens, lettuce, kale, radishes, and three pounds of asparagus. On this beautiful Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit with local growers and discuss how they prepare the produce to eat. Today's focus is on preparing the beautiful radishes and asparagus.

Radishes are small but mighty vegetables with only 9 calories per ½ cup, 14% of the daily value of vitamin C, and a significant amount of potassium, fiber, and folate. Similar to zucchini, and celery, radishes have a high water content helping with hydration and with the combination of fiber and water may help aid in weight management. Storage: Remove the radish tops and store in the refrigerator for 10-14 days. Due to the high water content, freezing is not recommended.

Asparagus, similar to radishes, are fat free, low sodium, and low calorie. One asparagus spear contains 3 calories. Additionally asparagus contains folate, Vitamins A, C, K, and potassium. Storage: Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Asparagus can be frozen for up to 5 months or pressure-canned for up to a year for best quality. For additional nutrition information, preparation, and storage visit the Illinois Nutrition Edition Blog: Spring into Green (Asparagus).

Both radishes and asparagus can be consumed raw, but for those looking for a sweeter and lemony twist try a new Roasted Radishes and Asparagus recipe below. This recipe is a simple one pan-roasting recipe, great for busy families who are looking for a healthy side dish. Roasting radishes tames the spicy flavor of radishes and brings out a sweeter taste, similar to other root vegetables such as potatoes or turnips.

Roasted Radishes and Asparagus

Serves 4

1 lb. fresh asparagus

1 bunch radishes, washed, trimmed, and quartered (12 medium radishes)

1 tsp. brown spicy mustard

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. dill weed, dried

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash hands. Break off tough ends of the asparagus and rinse. Set aside.
  2. Combine lemon juice, dill weed, mustard, pepper and olive oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Add in quartered radishes and asparagus, mix until fully coated.
  4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or spray sheet with cooking spray. Spread out asparagus and radishes on pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until radishes are fork tender. Remove from oven and top with parmesan cheese if desired.

Tip: Evenly coat radishes and asparagus by placing asparagus and radishes in a plastic storage bag and pouring in lemon juice, dill weed, mustard, pepper and olive oil mixture. Close bag and gently shake bag until the mixture is evenly covering the radishes and asparagus.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 90 Calories, 7 grams fat, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 25 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams protein

Looking for growing information on Radishes or Asparagus? University of Illinois Extension has you covered! Visit Watch Your Garden Grow: Asparagus or Watch Your Garden Grow: Radishes. These websites provide growing, varieties, troubleshooting, harvesting, care, preserving, and a few additional recipes.


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