Monday, January 23, 2012

Meatless Monday: Market Find of the Week…The Watermelon Radish

My “market find of the week” may not look like much from the outside, but if you cut one open, its inner beauty will be revealed.

I found this very large radish in the organic section of the Elm City Market, where it was being sold as a Watermelon Radish  (Raphanus sativus). 

Originally grown in China, it is also known as “Roseheart Radish,” “Chinese Red Meat Radish,” or “Beauty Heart Radish.” The pale pink to green to cream roots of Raphanus sativus are round and grow to a diameter of 4”. Its interior is bright magenta and looks much like the inside of a watermelon in color and texture. While by no means as sweet as the fruit for which it is named, this radish is not as “hot” as the more familiar red summer radishes. It has a milder taste with just the tiniest bit of a kick.

Watermelon radish is a winter vegetable. It requires cold growing conditions and does best when planted in the fall. The Chinese have long believed that this root has medicinal properties. The watermelon radish, while very low in calories, is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

This colorful, crispy treat makes a great garnish for a winter salad. And, unlike a tomato, it is now in season. I have read that watermelon radishes make a good addition to a stir-fry, but I suggest you try them raw first. No cooking is necessary to enjoy this gorgeous and tasty “market find.” A watermelon radish can really brighten up a dreary winter day.

Have a great week. “See” you next Monday.

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal  health and the health of our planet.”

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