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Larry's Garden

Written for the River Current Publication 

Last fall a friend of mine asked if I would perhaps consider having dinner with a recent widower…Larry.  Larry was actually someone that I knew from my high school years…and ironically, we had even shared a date or two in college.  I had no hesitation.  If I could in some way share some hope or encouragement with him, I would be honored. 


Our dinner turned into comfortable/easy conversation that lasted well over 3 hours.  Not wanting the evening to end, we decided to even share a movie together before we said our goodbyes.  We have been sharing dinners and time together ever since.    Together we have a keen understanding of each other’s loss, yet both hang on to the hope of happier days ahead.

 
I have tried to support and encourage Larry as he has adjusted to living alone and confronting the tasks of taking care of things at his home.  When he discussed the idea of planting a garden this spring, I was all in!  How fun it would be to plant a garden and reap the benefits of the harvest together. (In my mind I envisioned a perfect little garden similar to Peter Rabbits friend, Mr. McGregor.)

 
Well, here comes the trick.  Larry planted the garden and then came the rain…and the rain kept coming!  It was impossible to get into the garden to weed and the poor garden soon began to look like a fenced-in island of weeds.  Several times he has threatened to till the whole mess under. But under all of the weeds and such, I can see glimpses of the brave vegetables that are struggling to thrive amongst the weed rubble.  “Just give it a little longer”, I have suggested.

 
I can remember as a child planting and weeding our family garden.  I am not new to the whole gardening scene, but this experience has certainly been less than favorable!  Two of Larry’s favorite things he planted are radishes and green onions.  Thankfully, those two things seem to be enduring the less-than-favorable conditions they are presently in.  I found a delightful garden recipe in the Dispatch a couple weeks ago and hope to have the opportunity to try it out on Mr. McGregor this weekend!

 
Larry and I don’t always see things eye-to-eye when it comes to my stance with health and nutrition.  Let’s not tell him the many wonderful health benefits radishes have to offer, beyond their zip and crunch…we’ll keep that a secret!  Check out the list of goodness our little happy radishes have to offer…I had no idea!

 
1. Radishes are a naturally cooling food and their pungent flavor is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body during warm weather.

2. They can sooth sore throats.  Their pungent flavor and natural spice can help eliminate excess mucous in the body and can be helpful when fighting a cold…clearing the sinuses and soothing sore throats too.

3. Aid digestion.  Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system.

4. Can prevent viral infections.  Because of their high vitamin C content, regular consumption can prevent viral infections.

5. Radishes are said to have effective toxin-purging effects, helping to break down and eliminate toxins and cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

6. Protect against cancer.  Like other cruciferous veggies, radishes contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are cancer protecting. 

7. Radishes have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help relieve bloating and indigestion.

8. Low in calories, high in nutrients.  With a very low calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fiber and tons of flavor to your meals without compromising our health.

9. With a high water content and lots of vitamin C, as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are a nourishing food for the tissues and can help keep your body hydrated and your skin looking fresh and healthy!   Bam.  Let food be thy medicine.
 
 

Pretty Radish Salad from Larry's Garden
12 oz. fresh radishes (1/12/ bunches), cut into ¼” wedges
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 Tbsp. sliced fresh chives
1 Tbsp. EVOO
2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystalized ginger 
(Because I didn't have crystalized ginger, I substituted
grated fresh ginger and 1 1/2 Tbsp. honey)
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
Kosher salt

 
1. Place radishes, parsley leaves and chives in a medium bowl.

2. Whisk together the EVOO, ginger, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and ¼ tsp. salt.  Let sit for a few minutes to let the ginger soften, then whisk again.

3. Pour and scrape the dressing over the radishes/herb mixture.  Toss and mix well.  Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. As the radishes sit, they will stay crisp, release some liquid and also absorb some of the flavor of the dressing.

4. Serve the salad along with some of the juices.  Garnish with chive blossoms.



 

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