What Is Daikon Radish, and What Is It Used For?

What is daikon?

Daikon — also known as luóbo and winter, white, oilseed, and icicle radish — is a variety of radish native to China and Japan.

It’s cultivated around the world as a food for people and livestock, as well as for its seed oil, which is used in the cosmetic industry. Farmers also plant it as a cover crop to improve soil health and increase crop yield.

Daikon is considered a winter radish, which is slower growing and larger than spring radishes. Winter radishes are sown in mid to late summer and harvested during cooler weather.

Types of daikon

Daikon radishes have a crispy texture and resemble large carrots. Their flavor is milder than that of other radish varieties and described as slightly sweet yet slightly spicy.

• Miyashige White. This daikon is white and has a cylindrical root that grows 16–18 inches (41–46 cm) long. It has a crisp texture and mild flavor.

• KN-Bravo. KN-Bravo is a beautiful daikon variety that has purple skin and light purple to white flesh. The roots can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and have a slightly sweet flavor.

• Alpine. The Alpine daikon has short roots that grow 5–6 inches (13–15cm) long. This variety is a popular choice to make kimchi — a fermented vegetable dish — and has a sweeter taste than longer daikon varieties.

• Watermelon radish. This daikon variety has pale, greenish skin, yet reveals a bright pink flesh when cut open. It’s spherical and slightly sweet and peppery.

• Japanese Minowase. Minowase daikon is amongst the largest varieties, with roots growing up to 24 inches (61 cm) long. They’re white and have a sweet flavor and crunchy texture.

• Shunkyo. This cylindrical variety has red skin and white flesh. It grows 4–5 inches (10–12 cm) long and is known for its fiery yet sweet flavor and pink-stemmed leaves.

Rich in protective plant compounds

Daikon contains many plant compounds that may improve health and offer protection against certain diseases.

One test-tube study found that daikon extract contained the polyphenol antioxidants ferulic acid and quercetin, both of which have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immune-boosting properties.

Additionally, cruciferous vegetables like daikon offer biologically active compounds called glucosinolates, which break down to form isothiocyanates.

Read the complete article at Healthline