What Are Watermelon Radishes And What Do They Taste Like?

Watermelon radishes are an heirloom vegetable prized for both flavor and appearance. Part of the Daikon radish family, this varietal is milder and less peppery than your standard American radish (via Gardening Know How). As for the "watermelon" part of this veggie, that refers to look, not flavor. Watermelon radishes have a white exterior with a striated pink-and-white interior reminiscent of a cut watermelon. The Chinese word for these radishes is ShinRi-Mei, meaning "beauty in the heart" or you can refer to them by their Latin name Raphanus sativus acanthiformis.

To enjoy watermelon radishes at home, you may need to find a specialty produce store as these aren't as commonly sold as the traditional pink/purple exterior radish varieties. If you garden, you can order seeds for these radishes from many different sites. Growing these pink beauties isn't too difficult, and the growing season is a little longer than the more common cousin variety. 

Once you get your hands on these highly attractive vegetables, the next thing you should know is how to eat them.

Watermelon radish is a perfect garnish

While many prefer these beauties raw or pickled for their crunch and color (the pink fades with cooking), you can also eat watermelon radishes cooked, including braised, roasted like a parsnip, or mashed like a sweet potato (via The Kitchen). Watermelon radishes will often be larger than traditional radishes, about the size of a golf ball. Choose a radish that feels heavy for its size and is free of flaws and blemishes. Don't worry, you can skip peeling when you prepare this treat, but do remember to wash away any dirt or debris.

A watermelon radish is the perfect garnish for many dishes. Slice the veggie and layer quarters on top of your avocado toast, or add to a salad such as a mix of cabbage, dill, and mint (via Instagram). You can also make the raw radish the star of the dish by combining sliced radishes with Cara Cara oranges, goat cheese, and toasted walnut (via Alexandra Cooks).

If you want to try roasting your watermelon radish, know that these veggies are quite forgiving on time and temp. Start out with quartered and cleaned radishes drizzled in olive oil and roasted at 375 F for at least 30 minutes (via Peel with Zeel). When ready to serve, add some lemon juice and parsley, or a little salt and a dash of your favorite seasoning of choice.