Swap-Box Hero: Winter-Radish Edition

We were totally rad.

With nearly three hours left in last Wednesday’s pick-up session, our Swap Box was 100% black radishes. That topped the week before, when one, lone, giant kohlrabi prevented a winter-radish clean sweep.

Oooooo, scary. Apparently.

I guess I can understand why the black radishes are intimidating. But peel away that rhino hide and you’ll find an ivory delight inside—creamy-crisp, with a brace of peppery, horseradish-y heat.

And the watermelon radish? Under that white-to-green ombré skin is a fuchsia kaleidoscope. More mellow—and maybe even a little sweet—they’re one of my favorite winter CSA treats.

Venn diagram of the Daikon-related “green meat” and “watermelon” radishes.

Black, green, red—I love them all, especially shaved thin into a citrus-dressed salad or slaw, but then I’m a big fan of Bitter and Earthy. If you’re wary, know that you can take the bite out with either a quick pickle or a roast.

Quickled Winter Radishes

I usually cut little globe-style radishes into wedges, but these large varieties (Daikon, green meat, and watermelon) get sliced into very thin rounds. Use a mandolin, if you have one, or a very sharp knife. 

  • 2 decent-sized winter radishes (2 to 2-1/2″ around), washed, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
Quick-pickled radishes are a great foil for tacos, pulled pork, burgers, or other rich meats.

Pack the radishes into a glass jar or bowl. Combine all the other ingredients and stir until the honey and salt are completely dissolved. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables. Once they’re cool, seal the jar and refrigerate. I find they’re best if you let them cure for at least 48 hours, and they will start to go downhill after about a week, so eat ’em up.

Roasted Black Radishes
True, the skins are like leather, but the snappy, ivory flesh is nutty and sweet when roasted.

Preheat your oven to 400º and line a sheet pan with parchment, foil, or a silicone baking sheet.

Wash and peel the radishes, cut them into uniform-sized chunks, and place them in a bowl.

I prefer a pyramid shape, since the peaks get crispy while the inside stays creamy soft.

Drizzle the pieces with some good olive oil, toss to coat, and sprinkle in some salt (I skip the pepper, since black radishes are plenty zippy on their own). If you like (I do), add a pinch of thyme. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the edges are brown and crispy, giving the pan a good shake mid-way through.

Believe it or not, that’s one cue-ball-sized radish.

Serve as a side, alone or co-mingled with other roasted roots, atop a winter greens or grain salad, or mashed with butter.

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