Daikon radish is most often grown for its root, though the green tops are just as edible and versatile. The root of the Daikon radish is cylindrical with a white skin similar to that of a carrot or turnip. The pale tuber can grow up to twenty inches in length with a diameter of 4 inches. The flavor of the Daikon root is like a less-fiery radish; mild and tangy with a crisp and juicy texture.
Daikon radish, botanically known as Brassicaceae raphanus sativus, is a white-fleshed tuber also known as Japanese horseradish or mooli. The word ‘Daikon’ is Japanese for “great root”. There are over 100 varieties of Daikon radish, most of which are near extinction due to the lack of commercial value. Currently the aokubi daikon, an F1 hybrid, is the number one cultivated Daikon radish. Japan both produces and consumes 90% of the worlds Daikon radish crop annually.
Daikon radish is high in enzymes that aid in the digestion of fat and starch. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus. Daikon radish has been shown to help aid in the relief of migraines by opening up constricted blood vessels.
A staple in Japanese cuisine, Daikon radish is a versatile vegetable and has numerous applications both raw and cooked. Shredded Daikon radish can add crunch to a green salad or a bit of spice to a slaw. Julienned Daikon radish is commonly pickled with other vegetables such as carrots. Slice Daikon radish into rounds and bake at a very low temperature to make Daikon chips. The Japanese root vegetable can be substituted for Turnips in any recipe, and can be cubed and added to pot roasts or other meat dishes. Daikon radish can be kept up to four months in a cool environment.