August 31, 2015

Watermelon Radish 

Stacy Spensley

Everyone has heard the old adage that eating brightly colored fruits or vegetables is good for you. Loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial elements, vibrant produce does tend to taste great and always looks amazing on your plate.

When writing about the wonderful Chioggia beet last week, I started to think about fruits and vegetables that have amazing interiors hidden behind ordinary or dull exteriors, like the bright pink candy cane rings of the beets or the shockingly green flesh found inside a ripe kiwifruit. The following are a couple of my favorite surprise fruits and vegetables that can be easily grown at home and shared with unsuspecting family or neighbors.

Chinese Red Meat Radish

This sneaky radish doesn’t appear too special based on the dull exterior, which has an off-white to green-colored appearance. When you slice into the Red Meat radish (pictured above), you’re in for a real treat. Beneath the ordinary skin as you find a burst of rose red color, which earns the Red Meat radish its common nickname, the “watermelon radish.”

The red meat radish is related to the daikon radish and is easy to grow. The plants produce small to medium sized radishes, which change flavor as they age. When young, the radishes have a typical spicy radish flavor, but if you let them grow and mature, the flavor gradually sweetens and the spiciness dissipates. It’s great in a number of culinary applications: roasted, sliced raw on salads or even pickled.

Desert King Watermelon

Desert King Watermelon 

Kevin Fogle

Honestly, every time I crack open a watermelon I am conditioned to look for the classic ruby red flesh interspersed with dark seeds. But with the Desert King, melon lovers are happily surprised to find bright-yellow flesh awaiting them inside the hard, mint-green rind. Desert King produces round to oval-shaped melons that average around 15 to 20 pounds. These watermelons love heat and are a great alternative to traditional red-fleshed watermelons. Desert King isn’t the only yellow-fleshed watermelon on the market, though. Others include:

  • Yellow Shipper
  • Early Moon Beam
  • Golden Russian
  • Hopi Yellow heirloom.

Tell me about some of your favorite surprise vegetables and fruits you like to grow or eat. They don’t have to include the word watermelon!

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