Watermelon Radish: the unsung hero of storage vegetables

It’s a watermelon, it’s a radish…it’s a watermelon radish!

And it’s also a superhero of the vegetable world.

What makes it so?  Well, just take a look:

organic watermelon radish

organic watermelon radish

I’m a big believer that beautiful food tastes better, and in late winter, when other storage crops are beginning to get soft, the watermelon radish holds firm.  It’s bright pink center splashes across the plate.  It’s subtle sweetness is a welcome change from the bite of the summer varieties.  And when my instagram feed is filled with friends’ tropical vacations, I can sauté up some watermelon radish, carrots, and ginger in coconut oil and fill my plate with the same vibrant colors (just don’t look out the window at the snow).

Watermelon radishes are grown as a fall crop.  At Good Heart Farmstead, we harvest them in late October, and even into November.  As I mentioned earlier, their storage-ability is superb.  Until you’ve tasted them, though, you might be wary of a storage radish.  (It doesn’t sound particularly appealing to me, either).

I believe in adventurous eating, though, and if you want to find a superhero in the garden, you’ll have to get adventurous yourself.

If you’re new to watermelon radishes (or if you’ve gotten them in your CSA box and never been sure what to do with them), here are my favorite ways to eat them:

RAW

  • Cut the radish in half, and then into semi-circles, or triangles, like a slice of actual watermelon.  Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!  The skin is edible, but I usually eat it just like a watermelon, leaving the “rind” which is a bit more spicy.  hint: black sea salt will look like watermelon seeds
  • If you’re a dipper, cut raw watermelon radish into sticks and eat with a sour-cream herb dip, or creamy salad dressing.
  • Top salads with slices of watermelon radish for a bold finish.

SAUTÉD

  • Dice watermelon radish and sauté in coconut oil over medium heat until a fork easily pierces the cubes.  For more color and flavor, add diced carrots and ginger, plus a few pinches of sea salt.

ROASTED

  • Brighten up traditional roasted roots by adding cubes of watermelon radish.  Pre-heat oven to 400º, toss mixed root vegetables in olive oil, salt, and herbs (I love rosemary, or a mix of thyme and sage).  Cook on a sheet or roasting pan for about 40 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the roots and the skins have slightly browned.  Check the roots and stir to prevent sticking half-way through cooking.   Roasting will transform the watermelon color into a deep pink.

 

 

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