Watermelon radishes add color and crunch to dishes, while their peppery flavor will leave you wanting more.
Here’s everything you need to know about this type of radish and how to buy, store, use, and enjoy watermelon radishes!
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What Are Watermelon Radishes
Don't be fooled by the name; watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon radish that belongs to the Brassica family.
Eye-catching in their presentation, they have a pale green and white exterior with an inner layer boasting vibrant hot pink hues, much like their namesake. Watermelon Radishes come in all shapes and sizes, from golf balls to tennis ball sized.
Beloved for adding intense color and a delectable taste to dishes, these delightful root vegetables deserve more recognition than just culinary circles.
What Do Watermelon Radishes Taste Like?
Watermelon radish taste milder than most varieties of radishes. Their crunchy texture their firm and delicate sweetness reminiscent of turnips add an exquisite contrast to any dish.
Don't be fooled–these delightful root vegetables as they do not actually taste like watermelon; instead, they are packed with subtle flavors that will tantalize your tastebuds.
You can eat the entire radish, eaten raw in thin slices. Enjoy the bright flavor most radishes lack.
Using Watermelon Radishes
There’s no need to peel watermelon radishes—give them a good wash before using. Use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to thinly slice the radishes into rounds or matchsticks for salads, pickles, or roasted vegetables.
If you want your slices to keep their bright color, rinse them with cool water after slicing them.
How To Use Watermelon Radish (recipes)
There are countless ways to enjoy watermelon radishes in your favorite dishes. Here are some favorite watermelon radish recipes:
- Watermelon Radish Salad: cut the watermelon radish thinly and toss them with arugula, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with a simple lemon vinaigrette for a light, refreshing salad.
- Watermelon Radish Buddha Bowl: Arrange roasted watermelon radishes, quinoa, avocado, and your choice of protein in a bowl. Top with a zesty tahini dressing for a satisfying, nutrient-dense meal.
- Vegan Poke Bowl: Use watermelon radish slices as a colorful, crunchy substitute for raw fish in a vegan poke bowl. Combine with sushi rice, cucumber, avocado, and a tangy soy-sesame dressing.
Pickled Watermelon Radishes
Pickled watermelon radishes are versatile to any dish, adding color and crunch. To make pickled watermelon radishes, thinly slice the radishes using a mandoline or sharp knife. In a saucepan, combine equal parts vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Add garlic and peppercorns for extra flavor. Pour the hot brine over the radish slices in a heat-safe jar, ensuring they are fully submerged.
Allow the radishes to cool before sealing and storing in the refrigerator. Pickled radishes will keep well for at least a month.
Watermelon radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is important for boosting the immune system. They are also a good source of fiber, which aids in digestion.
Additionally, watermelon radishes contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, which have been shown to protect against chronic diseases such as cancer.
The vibrant pink color of watermelon radishes is due to the presence of antioxidants, which help protect against cell damage and inflammation.
Nutritional Facts: One cup (about 50 grams) contains approximately 20 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, and 5 g fiber.
When buying watermelon radishes, look for radishes that feel heavy for their size radishes that feel. Avoid any that feel spongy—they won’t have the same crisp texture or vivid color as fresh ones.
You can find watermelon radishes at farmers' markets in late fall and early spring, as well as from seed companies.
How Should Watermelon Radishes Be Stored
To store watermelon radishes, give them a good wash to remove any dirt and debris. No need for peeling. Place the freshly-cleaned radishes in an airtight container or plastic bag with a damp paper towel in the refrigerator's crisper drawer for optimal storage.
If stored correctly, you can expect these crunchy vegetables to last several weeks whole, while sliced pieces should be eaten within days for peak flavor and texture.
How To Grow Watermelon Radishes
Growing watermelon radishes is a rewarding endeavor for any home gardener. They thrive in cool weather and can be planted in early spring or late fall.
Find seeds from a reputable seed company or farmers' market to grow watermelon radishes.
Sow the seeds directly in well-draining, fertile soil, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Watermelon radishes take longer to mature than other radish varieties, requiring about 60 days to reach their full size.
Harvest the radishes when they feel firm and heavy for their size, and avoid watermelon radishes that feel soft to the touch or that feel spongy.
What is The Difference Between a Watermelon Radish And a Daikon Radish?
While watermelon radishes and daikon radishes belong to the same family, they have some key differences. Watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon radish, with a distinct pink interior and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
On the other hand, daikon radishes are larger, with a more elongated shape and a pure white color. They have a sharper, more intense flavor compared to watermelon radishes.
How Long Does It Take For Watermelon Radish To Grow?
Watermelon radish takes about 30 days to grow from seed to harvest.
They grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart in rows. Thin the seedlings to one every 6 inches when they are 4 inches tall.
Keep the soil moist but not wet. Fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer. Harvest them when they are 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
How Many Times Can I Harvest Watermelon Radishes?
Watermelon radish will keep producing new growth after being harvested. You can harvest every 2-3 weeks.
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