…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
Хрен редьки не слаще
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.
…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…