I needed turnips for a turnip gratin on Thanksgiving and bought turnips at Fresh Market. My daughter was with me and they clearly looked like turnips and we both remember they were labeled as turnips as well. When I sliced into them for the gratin, the inside was red, and the taste was like a very peppery and bitter radish. What in the world did I have because it was not a turnip?!

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5 Comments

mainecook61 December 6, 2010
I say it was a turnip. Perhaps a Japanese turnip (Ohno Red is one variety, Red Round is another). Turnips come in all colors: gold, purpletop, pure white, red. You can find them all in the wonderful Fedco seed catalog. And that miso butter suggestion by Rivka is a good one.
 
Rivka December 6, 2010
I agree with hardlikearmour -- it sounds like you bought a watermelon radish (which, incidentally, is just delightful with butter and salt!) While it's quite pungent raw, it mellows significantly when baked. One of my favorite dishes is radishes baked with miso butter -- the radishes become sweet and tender, losing all of their bite.
 
cantrelld December 6, 2010
After googling watermelon radish, I think that is what I must have had. The pictures match exactly, inside and out. Thank you, hardlikearmour!
 
innoabrd December 6, 2010
A photo would be helpful, but I wonder if it's an unusual variety?
http://www.tokyofoundation.org/en/topics/japanese-traditional-foods/vol.-16-the-red-turnips-of-kiso
mind you, raw turnip is quite bitter and peppery in any case, it only mellows with cooking.
 
hardlikearmour December 6, 2010
I wonder if it is watermelon radish, though they are supposed to be mild radishes. They can get to be big (4" diameter), are pale green on the outside and pink to red on the inside. http://www.reneesgarden.com/seeds/packpg/veg/radish-watermelon.htm
 
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