Daikon [大根(ダイコン)]

Daikon[大根(ダイコン)] is a cruciferous plant and this root is a popular vegetable as a kind of radish in Japan.

Daikon
Daikon(Aokubi-daikon)

Flowering Daikon
Flowering daikon



Daikon is produced throughout the year but winter and that is in season in winter and early spring. Daikon is used in many simmered dishes. For example, that is an ingredient of Miso-shiru[味噌汁(みそしる)](Miso soup) or Oden[おでん](pot dish with various ingredients). And Buri-daikon[ぶり大根] is one of the most popular simmered dish used Daikon. That is a simmered Daikon and yellowtail seasoned with soy sauce, Sake, sugar.

Oden
Oden

Buri-daikon
Buri-daikon

Boiled radish with Yuzu-miso
Furofuki-daikon[ふろふき大根]
(boiled Daikon with a sauce made of Miso, Sake, sugar, Yuzu peel paste)


Other than simmered dishes, Daikon is made into Takuan[沢庵(たくあん)](a pickle of Daikon) and Daikon-oroshi[大根おろし](grated raw Daikon) is used as a spice to lighten dishes.

Takuan
Takuan

Atsuyaki-tamago
Atsuyaki-tamago[厚焼き玉子(あつやきたまご)](Japanese omelet)
with Daikon-oroshi


Raw Daikon tastes a little sharp and it gives an accent the taste. Especially, Karami-daikon[辛味(からみ)大根] or Nezumi-daikon[ねずみ大根] has a stimulating sharp taste and its Daikon-oroshi is sometimes served as a spice of Soba[蕎麦(そば)](buckwheat noodle). Kaiware-daikon[かいわれ大根](Sprout of Daikon) is used as an ingredients of salad and a color accent of dishes. That also has a sharp taste.

Karami-daikon
Karami-daikon



Daikon contains much diastase which is a digestive enzyme and supports gastrointestinal function.



Daikon has been called "Suzushiro[スズシロ]" from ancient times but now this name is mainly used as a young Daikon which is one of seven spring herbs of Nanakusa-gayu[七草粥(ななくさがゆ)](rice porridge with chopped seven spring herbs eaten on a ceremony, Nanakusa[七草(ななくさ)] that held on January 7th.).

Nanakusa-gayu
Nanakusa-gayu



Daikon has many varieties but the most of the Daikon cultivated is a variety called "Aokubi-daikon[青首(あおくび)大根]" which has a long shape and tastes sweet and not so sharp.

Other than this, there are some local Daikons. Shōgoin-daikon[聖護院大根(しょうごいん)大根] is a Kyō-yasai[京野菜(きょうやさい)](traditional vegetables of Kyoto). That is a spherical Daikon and is mainly made into a pickle "Senmai-zuke[千枚漬け(せんまいづけ)]".

Shōgoin-daikon
Shōgoin-daikon

Senmai-zuke
Senmai-zuke


Sakurajima-daikon[桜島大根(さくらじま)大根] is mainly cultivated in Kagoshima Prefecture. That is the biggest Daikon in the world and grows in volcanic soil formed by eruptions of a volcano, Sakurajima[桜島(さくらじま)]. Its shape is like Shōgoin-daikon but is bigger than that.

Sakurajima-daikon
Sakurajima-daikon photo by ©鹿児島市

Mt. Sakurajima, view from Shiroyama Observation Deck
Mt. Sakurajima, view from Shiroyama Observation Deck, Kagoshima City


Due to the arrival of Aokubi-daikon or difficulties of cultivation, there are some varieties of Daikons which has been hardly cultivated such as Miura-daikon[三浦(みうら)大根], Nerima-daikon[練馬大根(ねりま)大根] and Kameido-daikon[亀戸大根(かめいど)大根]. The upper part of Aokubi-daikon's root is green but these varieties are white.

Kameido-daikon
Kameido-daikon


Miura-daikon was mainly cultivated in Miura[三浦(みうら)] City, Kanagawa Prefecture and Miura is a major producing area of Aokubi-daikon instead of Miura-daikon.




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