Daikon radish is a very versatile, fast-growing root vegetable. Daikon is a Japanese word, meaning large root. There are dozens of varieties ranging in size from 6 inches to 3 feet. The standard variety averages 10-14 inches. Though it is often sold and marketed without its tops, the entire plant is edible, roots and leaves. The Daikon is bold in size, yet more delicate in flavor. The long cylindrical roots have a smooth white skin and crisp, juicy white flesh. Flavor varies throughout the plant. The thickest part of the root closest to the tops is the sweetest, whereas the narrow bottom region of the root is peppery and pungent.
Best Storage Practices:
A superior storage vegetable, daikon can keep up to four months in a cool "root cellar" environment (around 60 degrees Fahrenheit) .
Fun Ways to Eat and Cook:
Raw daikon can be thinly sliced into salads, shredded or grated into slaws, or julienned and combined with carrots as a traditional Vietnamese pickle. Thick slices can be braised with beef or pork, or simmered in soups to bring out the vegetable's natural sweetness.
Why it's Good to Eat:
- The Daikon root is loaded with Vitamin C
- Contains the active enzyme myrosinase which is known to aid in digestion
When it's in Season:
Daikon is a brassica, a cool season vegetable, and is generally harvested in the early spring, late fall and early winter.
Daikon "Steaks" - Peel the skin of 2 daikon and cut the roots in one-inch circles. Then place in a big pot and cover with just enough water for boiling. When water comes to a boil, turn down heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes until tender. Drain water and heat up a frying pan drizzled with olive or sesame oil. The daikon is cooked through already, so we just want to brown both sides to a nice color. When the second side is seared off, salt and pepper to taste. Add a tablespoon and a half (or a drizzle) or soy sauce and toss the daikon in it. Can be served cold, but piping hot is best.