Daikon (Indian Radish)

Botanical Name ; Raphanus sativus
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
Species: sativus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Daikon, Indian Radish

Hindi Name : Mooli,  Bengali Name : Mullo

In culinary contexts, “daikon” or “daikon radish” (from its Japanese name) is the most common in all forms of English, although historical ties to South Asia permit “mooli” (from its Hindi name and also in Urdu) as a general synonym in British English. The generic terms “white radish”, “winter radish”, “Oriental radish“, “long white radish”, etc. are also used. Other synonyms usually vary by region or describe regional varieties of the vegetable. When it is necessary to distinguish the usual Japanese form from others, it is sometimes known as “Japanese radish” or “true daikon”. The vegetable’s Mandarin names are still uncommon in English; in most forms of Chinese cuisine, it is usually known as Chinese white radish” although in Cantonese and Malaysian cuisine it is encountered as “lobak”, “lo pak”, etc. In the cuisines of Hokkien-speaking areas such as Singapore, it is also known as “chai tow” or “chai tau” and, in South Asia, as “mooli”. In any of these, it may also simply be referred to as “radish”, with the regional variety implied by context. In English-speaking countries, it is also sometimes marketed as “icicle radish”.

In mainland China and Singapore, the calque “white carrot” or misnomer “carrot” is sometimes used, owing to the similarity of the vegetables’ names in Mandarin and Hokkien. This variant gave the title to a popular guidebook on Singaporean street food, There’s No Carrot in Carrot Cake, which refers to chai tow kway, a kind of cake made from daikon.

The official general name used by the United States Department of Agriculture is “oilseed radish”, but this is only used in non-culinary contexts. Other English terms employed when daikon is being used as animal feed or as a soil ripper are “forage radish”, “fodder radish”, and “tillage radish”

Habitat : Daikon is native to Southeast or continental East Asia, daikon is harvested and consumed throughout the region (as well as in South Asia) but is primarily grown in North America as a fallow crop, with the roots left unharvested to prevent soil compaction and the leaves (if harvested) used as animal fodder.
Description:
Daikon is an herbaceous annual or biennial plant in the family Brassicaceae, grown for its edible taproot. The radish plant has a short hairy stem and a rosette (ground level horizontal and circular leaves) of oblong shaped leaves which measure 5–30 cm (2–12 in) in length. The top leaves of the plant are smaller and lance-like. The taproot of the plant is cylindrical or tapering and commonly red or white in color. The radish plant produces multiple purple or pink flowers on racemes which produce 2–12 seeds. The reddish brown seeds are oval, and slightly flattened. Radish is generally grown as an annual plant, surviving only one growing season and can reach 20–100 cm (8–39 in) in height depending on the variety. Radish may also be referred to by the name of the cultivar and names may include Chinese radish, Japanese radish or oriental radish……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Varieties:
The most common variety in Japan (aokubi-daikon) produces an elongated root in the shape of a giant white carrot approximately 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) in diameter. Most Chinese and Indian forms are roughly similar.

The turnip-shaped “giant white radish” or “Sakurajima radish” is cultivated around Kagoshima in Japan and grows as large as 50 cm (20 in) in diameter and 45 kg (100 lb) in mass.

There are a number of non-white varieties. The Cantonese lobak, lo pak, etc. sometimes refers to the usual Chinese form but is also applied to a form of daikon with light green coloration of the top area of the root around the leaves. The “Korean radish”, also called “mu”, is similarly colored but with a rounder, more potato-like shape. Both are often spicier than the long white radishes. The heirloom “watermelon radish” is another Chinese variety of daikon with a dull green exterior but a bright rose or fuchsia-colored center. Its Chinese name is sometimes irregularly romanized as the “shinrimei radish” and sometimes translated as the “beauty heart”, “beautiful heart inside” or “roseheart radish”

Cultivation:
The Chinese and Indian varieties tolerate higher temperatures than the Japanese one. These varieties grow well at lower elevations in East Africa. It is best if there is plenty of moisture and it can grow quickly; otherwise, the flesh becomes overly tough and pungent. The variety “Long White Icicle” is available as seed in Britain, and will grow very successfully in Southern England, producing roots resembling a parsnip by midsummer in good garden soil in an average year.

The roots can be stored for some weeks without the leaves if lifted and kept in a cool dry place. If left in the ground, the texture tends to become woody, but the storage life of untreated whole roots is not long.

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Certain varieties of Daikon can be grown as a winter cover crop and green manure. These varieties are often named “tillage radish” because it makes a huge, penetrating root which effectively performs deep cultivation. They bring nutrients lower in the soil profile up into the higher reaches; are good nutrient scavengers, so they are good partners with legumes instead of grasses; if harsh winters, the root will decompose while in the soil in Spring releasing early nitrogen stores.
Propagation:
Radishes are fast growing cool-season vegetables that grow very well in cool moist climates. the optimum temperature for the growth of radishes is between 10 and 18°C (50–65°F) and they grow best in a well-draining sandy loams which are rich in organic matter with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8.. Radish should be grown in full sun to part shade.
Edible Uses:
The radish root can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked with other ingredients such as meat. The leaves of the plant are also edible and can bu used as a salad green.

Nutritional information:
Daikon is very low in food energy. A 100-gram serving contains only 76 kilojoules or 18 Calories (5 Cal/oz), but provides 27 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Daikon also contains the active enzyme myrosinase.

Medicinal Uses (Health Benefits):
Cancer Prevention:
Daikon is one of many cruciferous vegetables linked in studies with successful cancer prevention. Daikon contains several great antioxidants associated with fighting free radical damage, a known cause of cancer. Research has also shown that daikon juice helps prevent the formation of dangerous chemicals and carcinogens inside the body and helps the liver process toxins.

High In Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that not only combats free radical activity in the body but also offers great immune system support and helps prevent illness such as the common cold. 100 grams of daikon provides 34% the DV of vitamin C. Daikon leaves have a much higher concentration of vitamin C than that of daikon roots

Antibacterial & Antiviral:
Daikon appears to be able to combat bacterial and viral infections.

Anti-Inflammatory:
Research suggests that high levels of vitamin C and B, such as found in daikon, help to prevent chronic inflammation in the body which can lead to problems such as arthritis and heart disease.

Digestive Aid:
Raw daikon juice is abundant with human digestive enzymes that help the body process proteins, oil, fat and carbohydrates.

Diuretic:
Daikon helps the kidneys discharge excess water. A natural diuretic, it may also be helpful in treating urinary disorders.

Respiratory Health:
Raw daikon juice may help dissolve mucus and phlegm and aid in the healthy function of the respiratory system. Its ability to combat bacteria and viral infections may make it an effective combatant of respiratory disease such as bronchitis, asthma and flu.

Skin Health:
Applied topically or ingested, daikon juice has proven effective in preventing and treating acne and other skin conditions.

Bone Health:
Daikon leaves are an excellent source of calcium, which helps promote healthy bone growth and may lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Weight Loss:
In Asia, it is believed that daikon helps the body to burn fat, though this has not been proven. Whether it helps burn fat or not, daikon radish is extremely low in fat and cholesterol, but dense with nutrients, making it a great addition to any effective weight loss program.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://www.plantvillage.com/en/topics/radish/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-daikon-radish.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daikon

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