Eatwell Recipe 3: Pickled Watermelon Radishes ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eatwell Recipe 3: Pickled Watermelon Radishes

We received two HUGE watermelon radishes in our produce box this week. Since I knew there is no way in hell we are going to be eat quite that much salad in the next few days, I decided to try pickling them as they end up getting kind of rubbery after too many days in the fridge.

As you can see from the pictures, these are not your ordinary radishes. Watermelon radishes have a pale green rind and a bright magenta interior (hence the watermelon moniker.) They're a little milder than most radishes and actually have kind of a sweet taste, combined with that classic radish bite. Since watermelon radishes are an heirloom variety of Daikon, I figured that an Asian approach to pickling was in order.

Sliced Watermelon Radish
I did not feel like messing with our canning equipment, nor did I fancy having a home that reeked of vinegar for the next several weeks (an unavoidable by-product of pickling anything), so I opted to make quick "refrigerator" pickles. These are a whole lot easier to make than "real" pickles -- instead of cooking the vegetable in vinegar, you simply immerse it in the pickling mixture and chill in the refrigerator. The only downside is that you can't store them indefinitely like you can the "cooked" kind that you are canned in sterilized jars. But they're so tasty that getting rid of them in a few days is usually not a problem!

Since these pickles are not meant for long-term storage, you should free to play with the amounts of vinegar, sugar and salt - the important thing is to make sure that all the slices are submerged in the pickling liquid and give them enough time to pickle in the fridge before eating. If you prefer a more traditional pickle taste, use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the rice vinegar.

Here's a glimpse into our fridge - aren't they pretty?

Pickled Watermelon Radishes in Fridge
Pickled Watermelon Radishes
Makes 2 cups


* 2 cups sliced radish
* 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges and separated
* 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
* 1/8 cup sugar (start with this amount - you can always add more if you feel it's necessary but rice vinegar is pretty sweet on its own)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1. Slice the radishes -you can do thin slices or julienned sticks- and the onion. Place the radish slices and onion in a large bowl or pack them into a jar. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

2. Pour the pickling mixture over the sliced radish and onion until they're fully covered.

3. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

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The Eatwell Project: a year of seasonal recipes -- logo by Eve Fox


Elizabeth said...

better save some for me.

mommy liz, coming your way

Chef From Hell said...

Zowiee! That's one great looking dish--- I will definitely give this one a spin. Thanks again for sharing this with us.

Dina said...

Hi! do you by any chance have the pickled daikon recipe from one of last year's Eatwell newsletter? It was amaaazing but I can't find my collection of newsletters - Wah!

Thanks! :D

Eve Fox said...

I'm afraid I don't have it. But you could try emailing Molly at Eatwell - maybe she keeps a copy of those?

Sean said...

I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

Julie Miller said...

Do you happen to know of a recipe for cooked/processed watermelon radish pickles? I've been looking through all of my books and online, and can't find anything but quick pickles. Your recipe looks delicious, but I want something that will be shelf stable for several months.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Julie,
almost all the recipes I see are for quick, refrigerator kind (I am not sure if this is because they're really not suited to longer storage or just a quirk.) But hEre's one I found that looks to be for a slightly longer shelf life (but again, to be kept in the fridge after the first week of brining). I have not tried it so can't vouch for it but you could give it a shot. Good luck!

Julie Miller said...

Thanks Eve...I'm wondering too if it's because the radishes get rubbery/soft, or if its just that folks haven't published their recipes. Perhaps I'll give it a shot!