This grapefruit-sized fruit actually grows on a climbing cactus. Its spongy pulp is white or sometimes pinkish red, sweet and juicy with numerous tiny edible black seeds scattered throughout
Actually a tuber, the sunchoke looks like a small, bumpy potato or ginger root. The knobby, thin-skinned exterior is usually tannish-gold to cream colored but some varieties are reddish or purplish.
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Sparkler radishes are available late winter through the spring.
The Sparkler radish, botanical name Raphanus sativus, is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Radish varieties can be divided into four types: Western (small salad type), Oriental (large and mild) such as China Rose and Daikon, Leaf (small taproots cultivated for feedstock), and rats-tail radishes (cultivated for edible seedpods). The Sparkler radish is a Western radish type. It is an heirloom variety that is also known as White Tip and Sparkler White Tip.
The Sparkler radish is very classic in appearance. Its edible roots are petit spheres with thin wiry taproots. The skin's coloring is two-toned with the top of the roots near the plant's leaves a deep scarlet red and the bottom half, creamy white. The Sparkler radish's flesh is translucent white, crisp yet tender. Its flavor is mild and earthy with a subtle sweetness.
Sparkler radishes can be served for fresh eating or cooked and served hot or cold. If cooking, the best method is slow-roasting as it will bring out a tender, rich and sweet quality in the radishes. Their vibrant coloring makes them a perfect fit for crudité plates or sliced and layered with butter on open faced tea sandwiches. Sparkler radishes pair well with chives, parsley, fennel, apple, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, butter, vinaigrettes, bacon, white fish, cucumbers, mild salad greens, cooked eggs, citrus, cilantro and mint.
The Sparkler radish is believed to have first been cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean region. Radishes are perhaps the fastest maturing plants in nature. Sparkler radishes can reach maturity within twenty days of sowing. Once the root becomes visible, they can be pulled. This means they must be harvested often, as the flavor of the root will become sharper if left in the soil for too long. Radishes are very much like lettuces and pea plants, preferring cool season for best growth and sweeter roots. Summer crops tend to bolt to seed quickly as well as producing sharp pithy roots and sunburnt leaves.
Recipes that include Sparkler Radish. One is easiest, three is harder.