Daikon radishes

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Thu, May 2, 2013 - 9:26am

The huge white vegetables in this iconic photograph on th left (part of a photo series, of this happy elderly Japanese lady and her cat and garden and there is a wonderful coffee table book of these pictures) are daikon radishes, the king of the radish world. You'll want to grow these for the gratifying results, and for the wondeful dishes you can make with them. Low calorie, filling, supposed to aid in the digestion of greasy or oily foods, high in vitamin C, incredibly fast-growing...this may be why daikon means "great root" in Japanese.

Fresh daikon leaves can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable by the home gardener (they are removed when daikons are old in a store because the leaves turn yellow easily). I understand the sprouts are good, too, but who'd want to stop something that gets this big when it's only a sprout?

Okay, how do you cook with it? The Japanese traditonally grate it, or pickle it, You can use it as a substitute for cabbage when making cole slaw or just season it in a number of ways to make a salad. And did you ever have yellow pickled veggies in your sushi? That was pickled daikon. If you've ever had kimche, the Korean national dish, that was mostly daikon radishes in a spicy sauce. You can experiment with adding them to other root vegetables in soups and stews, too. Here is a list of recipes

Dried, shredded daikon (kiriboshi-daikon, literally, "cut-dried daikon") keeps well., too.

11 Comments

rheba's picture
rheba
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daikon seeds

Have you found a good source for daikon seeds?

I am about to do an experimental kraut-chi from some Daikons I bought at the supermarket but I don't see a seed source. I would love to do a bulk buy because I think the tops are good goat forage. The other seeds I would like to find in bulk are turnips for use in my fodder system. The latter is working well but I hear that goats like a few turnip and sunflower sprouts mixed in with the barley.

I have bought 10# of forage radishes that I think are related to daikon but they should be planted in the fall.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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rheba, try these

This was our first yeartrying daikon radishes, and we got ours from one of my two main sources of seeds: Park Seed (the other is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange but that vartiety was pegged for fall planting and I wanted to try them in the spring.)

Here's a trick: bring up the Google search engine. Then choose "More" from the drop-down menu and click on "Shopping." Type in what you want and they will comparison shop for you. You can even ask it for specific varieties or bulk - whatever you really need. Doing this, and searching for "daikon radish seed bulk" I found one specifically for foraging.  $10 worth of seed covers 5,000-sq ft.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Daikon In Brothy Soup

I've cooked with daikon in soup. Generally speaking, you can cut it into roughly one-inch cubes. Then cook in chicken or beef or pork or vegetable stock to make a nice broth until the daikon softens. The daikon absorbs the flavor, as well as imparting its own. Salt lightly to taste, garnish with fresh chopped green onion slices (thin).

You can also cook with stew meat in cubes or pieces of pork ribs and simmer for hours until the meat is soft and falls off the bone. Salt lightly to taste, garnish with fresh chopped green onion slices (thin).

You can also grate raw daikon and use as an edible raw garnish,or sauté with other ingredients.

Poet

Steady Footsteps's picture
Steady Footsteps
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Re-visiting an earlier article about Daikon Radish Sprouts
Daikon radish sprouts are a favorite element of Vietnamese rau song (fresh greens).  Here's how to grow them:
 

Start out with Daikon radish seeds soaked overnight.  I then spread them out on either damp sand or soil, cover them with a thin layer of sand or soil, and then put some sort of lid over the whole affair to keep them damp until I see the tiny plants start to emerge.  At that point, I remove the lid and allow them to be exposed to sunlight (even a windowsill will do) and, once the seed leaves are fully developed, I pull them up, snip off their dirty little roots, rinse, and serve.  As you can see in the above image, you can grow them in an vacant patch of garden soil or even in a little take-out box.  Left to fully mature, Daikon radishes are quite formidable, as you can see here:

 

Steady Footsteps's picture
Steady Footsteps
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Regarding those radish sprouts . . .

Baby Daikon radish sprouts are a favorite element of Vietnamese rau song (fresh greens).  The above entry details how I grow them on my rooftop in Da Nang in a matter of 4-5 days.

rheba's picture
rheba
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Daikon vs forage radishes

I think these are different, right? I got 10# of Eco Till "Soil Buster" Radish for fall planting. The seed is untreated so I could sprout it and will try. But I didn't think one could actually eat or ferment these things. They look delicious in the photo above.

I have heard that there are forage turnips and beets (mangels) as well. The sprouts of these seeds might also be delicious and tempting for goats who are fussy about their sprouts.

BTW - My fodder system seems to be working. If I toss in some radish seeds I don't see why I couldn't eat the sprouts myself. I have to design a drainage tray and then find a source of the right size stainless steel pans. The food grade plastic lids are way too fragile for this purpose. I anyone else using turnip or radish seeds in a fodder system?

 

Steady Footsteps's picture
Steady Footsteps
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Turnips for Fodder

Hi Reba,

I recall a neighbor of ours in the Shenandoah Vally of Virginia who raised sheep on a large scale.  He said he tried planting a field in turnips and then turning in the sheep to graze on them.  He said they ate the greens right down to the ground and gnawed the tops of the roots down so that when it rained, there was a sort of weird moonscape of little craters, each filled with a little pool of water.  So, yes, I think sheep like turnips.  Do be careful, though, with ruminants.  I threw an old jack-o-lantern pumpkin out in a field once and was surprised to see a sheep nibbling at that.  The next morning, however, she was dead--probably of bloat.

rheba's picture
rheba
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Yes - it is hard to be sure

Yes - it is hard to be sure about how much/what to feed once you get beyond the recommendations of the feed bags. We harvested a huge blue hubbard squash and left it in the barn. The 5 goats had it down to a mere nubbin by the end of the day. We continued all winter to let them eat winter squash but never such a big one again. I think that goats are a bit smarter than sheep but I haven't had any sheep since I was very little.

I am looking for a good source of appin turnips and mangel beets. I already have a supply of forage radishes. Herrick Kimball has a lot of good stuff about roots on his Deliberate Agrarian site.

 

 

rheba's picture
rheba
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However, I guess I still

However, I guess I still wonder about the relationship between Daikon and other radishes and am having trouble sourcing them.

Steady Footsteps's picture
Steady Footsteps
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I know this won't help much but . . .

. . .our source for Daikon radish seeds was a local seed shop which had a gigantic sack labeled "Product of New Zealand" (maybe 50 pounds or so) of seeds that the proprietor sold by the scoopful.  Unfortunately for you, local for me means downtown Da Nang, Vietnam!

prana's picture
prana
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Raita

Radish is good in Raita, an Indian yoghurt-based side dish. Normally chopped onions, cucumbers, green chillis, a pinch of cumin would be mixed into yoghurt + chilled. So good with spicy curries. I like to make fruit raita too: green apple, pineapple instead of the vegetables. Recently we tried chopped radish and it was yummy. 

I imagine that this could be transposed to Tzaziki too (Mediterranean side dish similar to Raita) The slight difference is that one would add minced garlic + lemon juice to Tzaziki, and flavour with oregano, mint instead. 

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