…a wise man approaches life like vegetable garden, knowing that a [sweet white] turnip, as well as a [spicy black] radish, will be pulled here and there.Kozma Prutkov

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In the U.S., black winter radish (aka Black Spanish radish, See “Winter Varieties” section) is less known and popular than Summer European or Asian radishes. It is round or pear shaped, about 4″ in diameter, with black skin and hot-flavored white flesh. Black radish is common garden variety in Europe since 16 century. Known as red’ka, it is also one of the most common and popular for its health benefits winter root vegetable in Slavic cuisines, which is reflected in folk and classic literature.

Мороз и солнце; день чудесный!

A magic day — sunshine and frost —
but you, in dreamland still are lost…

— A.S. Pushkin, “Winter Morning,” translated by V. Nabokov

I miss Winter. I miss blinding whiteness of the snow and frosty bite in the air. In my memories, I travel back in time when my Mom and I would bring home Winter delicacies from the farmers market. Almost always we’d have a couple of black radishes for this salad among them.

Black Radish and Apple Salad
Black Radish and Apple Salad

…It’s so cold outside and so warm and cozy in our tiny kitchen. We can’t wait for lunch! I peel the radishes and one big apple. My Mom grates them. We season and toss them with a touch of salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, and homemade sunflower oil, and sit down for a little snack. This salad is white like snow and fresh and sharp like cold air. Every time black radish becomes available, I make this salad for the pleasure to experience white Winter sensations again…

Black Radish and Apple Salad
Black Radish and Apple Salad

Black Radish, Apple, and Pomegranate Seeds Salad

Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Eastern European
Keyword: pomegranate, radish, recipe, salad, vegetables
Servings: 2 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 each black radish 4" D
  • 1 each apple 4" D
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Instructions

  • Peel and grate black radish and apple. Toss to combine.
  • Season tossed radish and apple with honey, salt, vinegar, and pepper. Mix and leave for about 5-10 minutes at room temperature.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Notes

Read about radishes:
Radishes may seem spicy — but they’re not. They don’t have any spicy flavor compounds in them, the way chili peppers do. So why do they taste spicy when you bite into them?
But why should we ever bother to eat radishes? — asks the author of the article at the end.
9 Reasons to “Eat Your Radishes”!
The Secret Powers of the Humble Radish
How to enjoy radishes knowing what makes them hot-flavored? If served immediately after slicing or not sliced at all, they are hot, they bite, they kick, and they might be not healthy for some people. It changes if you slice or grate them, season, and let stay for 5-10 minutes. Eating them with some fat helps to consume them with pleasure as well. Bread and some kind of fat (butter, sour cream, yogurt, vegetable oil) are a must.
Black Radish and Apple Salad
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