The Miraculous Daikon

Traditional winter dishes in Japan usually include daikon. Daikon (大根) is a winter radish popular in Japanese cuisine. Its mild flavor makes it a versatile ingredient; it is usually characterized by its long and white root. The origins of daikon can be traced to the Mediterranean. It spread quickly to the east and is now grown all across Asia and some parts of the world.

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In Japanese cuisine, daikon is used often in the many pickling variations of traditional Japanese cuisine such as bettarazuke and takuan-zuke. Grated daikon is also used in making the popular Japanese condiment ponzu, a soy sauce and citrus juice blend. Japanese hot pots such as oden are especially popular during winter, and a delicious bowl of warm broth wouldn’t be complete without slices of daikon. The drying process is a common way of preserving food in Japan. Shredded and dried daikon called kiriboshi-daikon, and daikon sprouts kaiware-daikon make a beautiful garnish. Daikon leaves don’t go to waste, either. They can be fried or pickled and are delectable either way.

Daikon. | Franco Folini

daikon1Aside from being a favorite ingredient in many Japanese dishes, daikon also has numerous health benefits.

Helps prevent cancer – daikon contains antioxidants that fight off free radical damage known to cause cancer. Research studies indicate that daikon juice prevent the proliferationsfc of harmful chemicals and carcinogens in the body.

Kiriboshi-daikon.

Rich in vitamin C – vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that strengthens the body’s immune system. 100 grams of daikon are said to supply the body with 34% of the daily value our bodies need. Daikon leaves have a higher concentration of vitamin C levels than daikon roots.

Migraine relief – migraines are caused by constricting blood vessels in the brain. Daikon helps dilate the blood vessels and can be taken as a preventative measure or even at the first sign of a migraine.

14680773562_9ea2148113_zHelps in organ functions – daikon is an effective diuretic. It also helps cleanse the blood and gets rid of toxins through the liver, kidneys, digestive tract, and sweat glands.

Anti-inflammatory – high levels of vitamin C and B found in daikon aid in preventing chronic inflammation that lead to arthritis and heart disease.

Pickled daikon and carrot coins. | iris