It seemed only appropriate to serve Beauty Heart radish at our Valentine’s dinner.
We were introduced to the beautiful pinky red radishes when we were living in Beijing where it is very popular. Members of my Women of China work unit brought some pickled Xin Li Mei radish to a picnic outing. They called it Beauty Heart which I much prefer to Red Meat, as it is sometimes called in seed catalogs. It is also called Watermelon radish for its ‘large’ size, green skin and red interior.
I have not been successful in growing Beauty Heart radish. I think my growing season is too short and cool. My book, Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for Garden and Kitchen by Joy Larkcom, says that it needs several months of warm weather, beginning when temperatures are reliably above 60 degrees. They are ready for harvest in about 80 days. She makes the point that growing them in an unheated hoop house provides ideal conditions. That explains why the Beauty Hearts I bought at Winterfare from Red Fire Farm are so beautiful and delicious. And why the ones I have tried to grow are such failures.
I originally thought these radishes were really turnips because of the size. I was wrong. I also thought the roses carved of vegetables on banquet tables were dyed turnips, but no, the petals are carved from Beauty Heart radishes, and as good to eat as they are a pretty decoration.