What’s a Watermelon Radish??!

The Watermelon radish, also known as Rooseheart or Red Meat, is an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish. It is a member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips.
Watermelon radishes in the produce department
Watermelon radishes are edible globular roots attached to thin stems and wavy green leaves. Their exteriors are creamy white with pale green shoulders, a sign of the chlorophyll it received from exposure to the sun. Watermelon radish flesh is white closest to the exterior and becomes bright, circular striations of pink and magenta toward the center. Hence, the watermelon reference.

The flesh is tender crisp, succulent and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with some sweet notes. Depending on when harvested, Watermelon radishes can range in size from golf ball to soft ball. Watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They pair well with fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, creamy based dressings, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, noodles such as soba and udon, citrus, cilantro, mint and tarragon.
 
Watermelon radishes are most commonly available during spring and late fall, since they are a cool season crop preferring soil temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Overly warm soil temperatures affect the radish’s flavor, turning a mild pepper flavor into a bitter sting.
 
Here’s an easy recipe to give these beautiful vegetables a try:
 
Sweet Pickled Onion and Watermelon Radish Salad
Makes 4 cups
 
1 large Watermelon radish, sliced into thin rounds
1 small white onion, sliced into thin rounds
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
splash of rice wine vinegar (optional – adds an extra layer of tart-sweetness)
 
Pickled Watermelon radish salad
Directions:
1. Place radish and onion slices in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well.
3. Refrigerate overnight to chill and meld flavors before serving.

7 Comments

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