Daikon is available year round with fall and winter crops offering the best flavor.
The Daikon radish, the white behemoth of radishes, is a very versatile, fast-growing cool season root vegetable. There are dozens of varieties ranging in size from six inches to three feet. The standard variety, though averages ten to fourteen inches. Although, it is often sold and marketed without its tops, the entire plant is edible, roots and leaves. It is also a superior storage vegetable. It can keep up to four months in a cool "root cellar" environment. This is, perhaps, what has proven its longevity as a crop. Portions of single harvests can be used throughout several months.
The Daikon is bold in size, yet more delicate in flavor. The long cylindric roots have a smooth creamy 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.
The Daikon root is loaded with Vitamin C and the flesh contains a large amount of water, which conversely makes it a poor source of food energy. It also has the active enzyme, myrosinase, which inherently protects the plant from herbivores. This same enzyme is known to aid in digestion.
Daikon is an incredibly versatile vegetable. Essentially a gigantic radish, the entire plant is edible - greens to root. 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. A superior storage vegetable, it can keep up to four months in a cool "root cellar" environment.
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