Taste Test: Watermelon daikon


Looking at a slice of the watermelon daikon, you'd almost think it should taste like a real juicy watermelon. Of course, it doesn't — it tastes like an ordinary radish, except a little bit sweeter and more peppery. Some believe it's an heirloom variety of daikon, the long white Asian radish.

Daikon is high in fiber and low in fat, so it's great for weight loss; somewhat ironically, the term daikon ashi is used in Japan to refer to women who have thick legs. Daikon literally means big root. The origins of radish can be traced back to ancient Roman and Asian civilizations, though it's believed to have existed way back into the annals of undocumented history.

Watermelon daikon tends to get rubbery after a week, so if you want to preserve the pretty pink veggie, try this simple pickle recipe.

Pickled watermelon daikon

Slice a couple of radishes and a small onion. Put them in a jar. In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 1/8 cup of sugar, and 1.5 tsp of salt. Pour the sugar-vinegar mixture over the radishes, then cover and refrigerate for one day.

Image via sleepyneko's Flickr

If you're not into pickles, you can eat the watermelon daikon by cutting it into thin slices and sprinkling salt on it. Or you can put it in a salad, which is what I did for dinner last night.

Image via kthread's Flickr

Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.