Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seedless Watermelon

Ever since we ate at the Blackbird Restaurant in Chicago , I've wanted Watermelon Radishes.

Since we seldom have out-of-the-ordinary produce in our local stores, I've had no luck.  Today, as we were stocking up on bird food at Farm King, I HAD to look at all their new seeds.  As I've mentioned before, I seldom do seeds; it was an exercise in seeing what's being offered and admiring the pretty packets.

And then (this is where a bright illumination appears and angels sing in high voices) before my eyes was this packet of Watermelon Radish seeds. 

The Blackbird chef had sliced the round radish (2-4 inches) very thin with a mandolin and quickly deep fried.  It was this tangy sweet little crisp.  Plus, it was so very beautiful.  Seriously, the Blackbird chef could make shoe leather look and taste superb - but I digress.

According to the packet, these seeds are planted and harvested exactly the same as any other radish. 

Even though we in the Midwest typically have radishes for salads and relish trays, the Japanese cuisine has radishes with all rich dishes.  Europeans eat them with bread and breakfast cereals. 

A few cute radish facts: 
  • Watermelon Radishes are related to the turnip and horseradish family.
  • The Watermelon Radish is a heirloom Chinese daikon.  In Chinese it's actually called "xin li mei" 心里美, pronounced "sheen lee may" which means "beautiful inside".
  • These radishes are sweet in the center and hotter on the outter edges.
  • Radishes picked when it is very hot will usually be bitter.
  • Plant radishes weekly for a crop the entire summer.
  • Don't plant radishes where cabbage has grown the previous year.
  • I've found recipes for radish soup, stir fry, pickles, braised, remoulade, soup, cooked radish tops, salsa, slaw, and most any kind of salad you can imagine.  
  • It's the new "darling" of the vegan world.
I may have to start checking out the local groceries.  If Farm King has the seeds, can the Galva Grocery be far behind!!!   

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