Raw, pickled, or cooked, daikon is a popular Asian ingredient that is finding its way into American palates. The name “daikon” comes from the Japanese words for “dai” (meaning large) and “kon” (meaning root). More daikon is produced in Japan then any other vegetable and for proper growth, daikon requires deep, loose, and moist soil. Daikon resembles a long, white carrot and has the taste of a mild radish, and it can be cooked in similar ways to these two familiar vegetables. Daikon is most traditionally used in dishes such as kimchi and oden. But as the vegetable is quite versatile, it can also be simmered in soups or sliced thin and baked to make chips. Daikon is rich in vitamin C and contains enzymes that aid in digestion. When purchasing daikon, check that the roots are free of cracks and bruises. They will keep well in refrigeration if placed in a sealed container or plastic bag to maintain high humidity.
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