Daikon Facts

Daikon Facts
Daikon, also known as Japanese horseradish, is a type of root vegetables that belongs to the mustard family. It originates from Southeast Asia and continental parts of East Asia. Cultivation of daikon started in China 500 years BC. Daikon grows in areas with cool climate. It requires deep, moist, fertile soil for the successful growth. People cultivate daikon as a source of food (both for humans and animals), oil and to improve quality of the soil.
Interesting Daikon Facts:
Daikon has short stem and bunch of fast-growing leaves that can reach 2 feet in height.
Daikon has large root with white skin and white, juicy flesh. It is also available in green, yellow and black color. Root can reach 6 to 20 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter. Some varieties of daikon can weigh 40 to 50 pounds.
Daikon produces white or lilac-colored flowers. They contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers). Bees and flies are responsible for the pollination.
Fruit of daikon is papery thin, brown seed pod called silicle.
Farmers often harvest daikon before it starts to produce flowers (development of flowers exhausts minerals from the root and changes its taste). Daikon grows quickly and becomes ready for the harvest around 150 days after sowing.
Daikon propagates via seed.
Word daikon means "great root" in Japanese ("dai" = "large", "kon"="root").
There are three basic types of daikon (based on the shape of root): cylindrical, spherical and oblong.
Daikon (root) is great source of vitamins A, E and C and minerals such as potassium and phosphorus. 100 g of daikon contains only 18 calories.
Root has mild and tangy, slightly spicy taste and crispy texture. it can be consumed raw or cooked (baked, fried, grilled or boiled). Daikon can be also pickled or baked and consumed as chips. It facilitates digestion of fatty and starchy food and it is often used for the preparation of various sauces. Daikon is inevitable part of Japanese cuisine.
Tea made of daikon is often used after a meal to facilitate digestion. Tonic made of seaweed and daikon can be used for the removal of toxins from the body. Cup of grated root can eliminate symptoms of hangover.
Leafy parts of daikon can be consumed in the form of salad. Daikon sprouts are used for decoration of salads and sushi.
Daikon is cultivated as fallow crop in North America. Root remains in the ground to increase mineral content and improve quality of the soil (it changes texture and improves aeration of soil). Leaves of daikon are used as animal fodder.
Oilseed radish is a variety of daikon that is cultivated as a source of oil.
Daikon is biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.

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