Most people are familiar with radishes, those red-skinned, white-flesh, peppery vegetable often found on a salad bar. However, there are many other radishes, such as the daikon radish, that look completely different and yield a slightly altered taste.
The daikon radish looks more like a white carrot than a radish. It’s a root vegetable, also called the Japanese radish or white radish. It tends to be sweet and milder than a peppery red radish. While daikon radishes are less commonly stocked in big grocery stores, you may be able find them at the farmers market, farm stands, co-op grocery stores or Asian markets.
Store radishes in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 10 to 14 days. If the greens are still on them, remove them first before storing. You can use the greens to make pesto or throw them in soups. Store the greens unwashed in a plastic zip-closed bag with a damp paper towel in the crisper drawer.
Like carrots, daikon radishes don’t need to be peeled, but they do need a good scrub with a clean vegetable brush. You may still peel them if you wish. These radishes can be eaten raw or cooked, though when they get too big, they are better cooked. When cooked they are sweet and tender. The daikon radish is a common vegetable in Asian cuisine. Use them in stir-fry, kimchi or pickle them. Raw daikon radishes are delicious in salads and slaws. Daikon radishes are a source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Ask your local growers about daikon radishes and try something new.
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Daikon Radish Roast
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over a flat baking pan. Wash and remove top and root ends of daikon radish. Peel radishes with a vegetable peeler and cut into slices that are a quarter-inch thick. Spread slices evenly on baking pan. Peel and chop onion; spread onion and carrots along with the radish on the baking pan. Peel and mash clove of garlic and sprinkle over top of vegetables. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and drizzle with additional ½ tablespoon olive oil. Bake in oven until radishes are tender, about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 100 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 190 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
Smith is nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.