Get adventurous with winter produce

Purple and green daikon radishes sit next to hakurei turnips at Freedom Farmers Market.
Kris Martins for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Purple and green daikon radishes sit next to hakurei turnips at Freedom Farmers Market. Kris Martins for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Kris Martins

Credit: Kris Martins

5 veggies to add to your farmers market shopping list

If there’s ever a time to try something new at the farmers market, it’s wintertime. Frosts and freezes cause plant cells to release sugars when they thaw, so vegetables often are at their sweetest during this season.

To help you be adventurous with winter produce, local farmers shared their cooking recommendations for some less-mainstream vegetables available at metro Atlanta markets.

Note: Availability of produce changes weekly, depending on temperatures and harvest schedules.

Radicchio

The red varieties that look like dense cabbage heads will be more bitter than the types of radicchio that have green leaves with burgundy speckles. Both can be prepared the same way.

While radicchio’s bitter taste may seem intimidating, Jess Plymale, owner and operator of Row by Rowe Organic Farm, recommends soaking the leaves in water for 10 to 15 minutes to extract some of the bitterness. As a salad green, radicchio goes well with an acidic dressing, as well as sweet and crunchy toppings.

ExploreRecipe: Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Radicchio Treviso with Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

“I like a vinaigrette with blue cheese and pear, or apple, and maybe some pecan,” said Jeff Anthony, co-owner of Pinewood Springs Farm.

Another option is to roast it, which Plymale said helps with the bitterness, too.

“Grilled or roasted, topped with a little parm and a little balsamic ... it’s fabulous,” she said. She cuts the head into quarters and soaks them in water before coating them in oil, and then grilling. You can pair the charred radicchio with red meat, if it’s in your diet.

If you can’t find radicchio at the market, other chicories, such as endive, can be prepared the same way, Plymale said. Radicchio also returns in the spring.

Find it at: Freedom Farmers Market, Marietta Square Farmers Market, Oakhurst Farmers Market, Tucker Farmers Market and Peachtree Road Farmers Market pickup at the Cathedral of St. Philip (contact vendors directly).

Speckled radicchio, such as castelfranco or bel fiore, is less bitter and has a more tender leaf. Kris Martins for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Speckled radicchio, such as castelfranco or bel fiore, is less bitter and has a more tender leaf. Kris Martins for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Kris Martins

Credit: Kris Martins

Hakurei turnips

Pale, and slightly smaller than radishes, these turnips are an easy addition to salads, whether quartered or sliced thin, Plymale said.

ExploreRecipe: Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato Hash with Turnip Green Pesto

You also can toss them in olive oil and salt — no need to peel — and roast them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, she added. That turns them into “little bursts of crunchy, juicy sweetness.” You can make the skin super crispy by placing the roasting pan in the oven while it preheats.

Hakurei turnips also can be a potato substitute.

Find it at: Freedom Farmers Market, Oakhurst Farmers Market, Grant Park Farmers Market and Dunwoody Farmers Market

Kohlrabi

Crisp and slightly sweet, this bulb can be eaten raw or cooked.

Lindsey Sorah, co-owner of Hearts of Harvest Farm, makes a crunchy slaw by shredding kohlrabi in a food processor, along with watermelon radishes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli stalks and apples, then tossing it all with a vinegar-based dressing.

ExploreRecipe: Creamed Kohlrabi with Roasted Oyster Mushrooms and Crispy Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi can replace potatoes in recipes, too. Roasted with other root vegetables, it pairs well with a meat protein. Using it in fritters also is a great way to introduce it to children, Sorah said. You can serve it with your favorite dipping sauces.

To eat it raw, slice kohlrabi like apples, or you can add it to a crudités platter.

Find it at: Marietta Square Farmers Market, Freedom Farmers Market, Oakhurst Farmers Market, Grant Park Farmers Market and Peachtree City Market

Daikon radish

Popular in Japanese cuisine, daikons come in a few shapes and colors. White daikons look like long, thicker white carrots or parsnips. Mini daikons, like the purple and green types, are smaller, but taste nearly the same as white daikons, said Rahul Anand, owner of Snapfinger Farm.

He likes to grill and roast them. “Sometimes, we’ll just mandoline it with the greens on, if possible ... and then we’ll glaze that with miso butter and then put it under the broiler,” Anand said. As a side, it pairs well with a steak.

ExploreRecipe: Winter Radish Crostini

Another option is to shave them thinly and layer them into salads or sandwiches, for crunch and spice.

They also can be a substitute for other root vegetables. “Use the same process you would do for potato french fries, but just use the daikon instead,” Sorah said. The same goes for carrot recipes.

Andrea Ness, co-owner and operator of Aluma Farm, adds daikons to soups.

“When you simmer it in a soup, it gets this delicious, really tender texture, and it gets so sweet,” she said.

Find it at: Marietta Square Farmers Market, Freedom Farmers Market, Oakhurst Farmers Market, Grant Park Farmers Market, Dunwoody Farmers Market, Peachtree City Market and Aluma Farm stand

Sunchokes

With a texture like water chestnuts, sunchokes are crisper than a raw potato. Shaved raw sunchokes pair well with an arugula or watercress salad, Anand said. And, when roasted, they have a chestnut flavor, too.

Ness adds sunchokes to roasted root vegetable medleys, for a touch of sweetness, and serves them with pesto made from seasonal tender herbs.

ExploreRecipe: Pan Fried Jerusalem Artichokes

“They’ll be perfectly caramelized on the outside and then just really nice and creamy and tender on the inside,” she said.

You also can slice and deep-fry them, like french fries. “Putting parsley on top of that, along with some squeezed lemon, is really good,” Anand said.

Boiled sunchokes also can be the starting point for many dishes, such as blending them into a sauce, or making a puree as a plating base for a meat protein.

Anand also boils sunchokes to get them tender, then sautes them with garlic and butter in a skillet, to get the skin crispy.

Find it at: Marietta Square Farmers Market, Freedom Farmers Market, Aluma Farm stand and Peachtree Road Farmers Market pickup at the Cathedral of St. Philip (contact vendors directly)

Aluma Farm. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every other Sunday (check social media for updates). 1150 Allene Ave. SW, Atlanta. alumafarm.com

Dunwoody Farmers Market. 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody. dunwoodyga.org/dunwoody-farmers-market

Freedom Farmers Market. 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 453 Freedom Parkway NE, Atlanta. freedomfarmersmkt.org

Grant Park Farmers Market. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays. 1015 Grant St. SE, Atlanta. cfmatl.org/grantpark

Marietta Square Farmers Market. 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. 41 Mill St., Marietta. mariettasquarefarmersmarket.com

Oakhurst Farmers Market. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. 630 East Lake Drive, Decatur. cfmatl.org/oakhurst

Peachtree City Market. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. 215 Northlake Drive, Peachtree City. peachtreecitymarket.com

Peachtree Road Farmers Market. Individual vendor pickup Saturday mornings, typically 9-11 a.m., although times vary by vendor. The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta. peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com

Tucker Farmers Market Online order, pickup 4-6 p.m. Thursdays; delivery available 3-7 p.m. Thursdays. 4882 Lavista Road, Tucker. tuckerfarmersmarket.com

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