Everything you wanted to know about selecting, storing and cooking with watermelon radishes. We provide all details for using in salads, roasting, sauteing and pickling watermelon radishes plus a round-up of our top recipes from across the globe!
A few years ago we received a bag of watermelon radishes in our CSA market share. We were ordering from a farm that specialized in heirloom and hard to find varieties of vegetables. They just looked like a turnip from the outside. In fact, I actually thought they were turnips! Imagine my surprise when I cut into it and saw the hot pink center.
A little Googling later I found a basic recipe for using in salad. And my love for watermelon radishes began. Now I find watermelon radishes at my local grocery store and every farmer’s market. They have become a staple in our house.
Common Questions About Watermelon Radishes
Not familiar with watermelon radishes? Let’s go over some quick Q&A. Then recipes (which is really why you’re here, right?).
The watermelon radish is a member of the mustard family, which includes arugula, broccoli, and turnips. Watermelon radish originated in China where it was known as Shinrimei. They are white with a little green on the outside and bright pink on the inside. Hence the name, watermelon radish.
Sorry to disappoint, but the watermelon radish is not related to the watermelon fruit.
These radishes have an edible round white root with wavy leaves. Like a basic radish, its flesh is tender-crisp. But its flavor is mild and only slightly peppery.
The greens are also peppery but can be bitter. Also taste test them before using in recipes.
Because they store well you can find them almost all year-round. However, the primary harvesting comes in two seasons, spring and late fall.
These radishes should feel firm and heavy for their size. The skin should be crack and wrinkle-free. Avoid watermelon radishes that feel spongy when squeezed.
Watermelon radish can vary greatly in size, from smaller than a golf ball too much larger than a tennis ball.
Radishes should be stored in the fridge or a cool place. I find they can last 2-3 weeks without issue. Also, you don’t have to use the entire radish at once. A half-used radish will store for several days in a reusable container in the refrigerator.
You do not have to peel watermelon radishes. But, like all root vegetables, you should clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt before using them.
The root of the vegetable can be pickled, eaten raw in salads, sauteed or roasted. The greens can be tossed in salads or pureed into pestos.
Because of their bright color, they also make a beautiful topping or garnish for sandwiches, sushi, soups, and tacos.
Watermelon radishes are similar in ease to other radishes, which means pretty easy overall. However, because they are larger than the average breakfast radish they will take longer to mature (around 65 days). Note that warmer climates may cause the radishes to have a more bitter flavor.
Its official name in seed catalogs was originally Red Meat radish, some heirloom seed catalog’s still call it this. Once it caught on as a popular farmer’s market item for marketing reasons vendors began to sell it under the name Beauty Heart or Watermelon radish.
Absolutely! Both the flesh and the greens are high in fiber and vitamin C.
The Best Watermelon Radish Recipes
The most common and easy way to enjoy watermelon radishes. Use for garnishes on salads, sushi, tacos and more!
Roasted & Sauteed
Our favorite simple and straight forward recipes for roasting or stovetop sauteing.
Watermelon radishes star in these main course recipes. Healthy, vegan, what more could you ask for?
Like all radishes, these pair well with citrus flavors & of course, beets!
Who knew? But you know I wasn’t about to let you go without a twist, right?