Though the outside is a muted beige and green, slicing open a watermelon radish reveals a vibrant pink center with green edges. This coloration resembles a watermelon, giving this radish its name. The watermelon radish is an heirloom variety of the daikon radish. They are available year-round but typically grow in cooler soil. When selecting, choose the ones that feel heavy and firm. They typically range from the size of a golf ball to the size of a softball.
While the appearance may be appropriately named, the flavor is not. This vegetable isn't like the sweet, juicy watermelon we all know and love. Watermelon radishes are crunchy, with a taste that is slightly sweet with a peppery kick. However, it's milder than your traditional red radish.
As the days get hotter, watermelon radishes become a tasty way to stay hydrated—they're made up of 89% water! They're a great source of vitamin C and potassium and are great for your liver and digestion. They're also low in calories, making it the perfect side or garnish without taking away nutritional value from your meal.
Watermelon radishes are extremely versatile—they're great raw, pickled, or cooked. Thin slices of raw radish can add color and a nutritional boost to a light summer salad, sandwich, or even a toast like this one. They pair well with cheeses (especially goat cheese!) or can be pickled and served as an appetizer on its own. Cooking them will fade the colors, but thin, roasted slices can make a great healthy substitute for chips.
With their many uses and benefits, watermelon radishes are a staple and are sure to become your next favorite summer veggie. Don't be afraid to experiment with them!