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Lisa Schölzel

Senior Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

instagram.com/whatscookinglisa/

The best way to shop? With the seasons. So, every 2 weeks at Kitchen Stories, we'll be highlighting a different in-season ingredient along with 3 new recipes. To the market, we go!

The world of radishes is as varied and colorful as the many magnificent birds of the jungle—their colors, shapes, and sizes are wide-ranging. From pink and red to purple and black, from small bundles of radishes to large, single, oblong ones, even the flavors of the radishes vary. Jazzy pink radishes can be pretty spicy and sharp, pungent enough to clear your nose like a small kick of horseradish. But our focus today is on one type of radish in particular: the daikon radish (also called Japanese, Chinese, or winter radish).

1. When and how to buy daikon radish

Throughout the year, you can typically find a variety of different radishes at the supermarket because many varieties are grown in greenhouses and can be harvested all year round. Daikon are big, long radishes with a pointed tip and can grow up to 20 in (50 cm) long and weigh up to 4 lbs (2 kg). Daikon radishes are usually harvested right before the first frost and they’re seasonally available in the early fall. To pick the perfect daikon radish, make sure it’s heavy for its size and has an even and smooth white skin. It should have a mild smell and fresh looking green leaves. If the radish has limp leaves and soft, wrinkled spots, avoid it.

2. Storing and preparing daikon radish

If you don’t want to use your daikon radish right after picking it up, you can wrap it in a damp kitchen towel and store it for up to two weeks in the fridge. Before preparing this low-calorie radish, make sure it’s properly cleaned and peeled using a vegetable peeler, as the peel is tough and bitter.

3. All the ways to enjoy in season daikon radish

Daikon radish has a milder taste than your more common radish varieties, and it can be eaten raw (just like daikon radish sprouts that have a mildly spicy flavor), pickled, marinated, dried, or cooked. A great thing about this radish is that it keeps its consistency and aroma even if you add it to soups or stews—and no matter how long you let it cook. Another common way to eat daikon radish is to serve it with sashimi or pickle it with some napa cabbage into kimchi.

Once your daikon radish is peeled, cooked, and cooled completely, you can store it for up to three months in the freezer. Due to the radish’s high water content (it’s almost completely made out of water!) the water molecules in a raw radish would expand when frozen, leading to a mushy texture—so raw freezing is not recommended!

Ready for a fun fact? Traditional Chinese medicine praises the stimulating effects to digestion from daikon radish, which is why it’s often used as an ingredient in Chinese cooking to alleviate full stomach after a heavy meal. When used with honey, it is also said to work well as cough syrup to treat cold symptoms.

4. What to make next

All week long, we'll be featuring new daikon radish recipes on Kitchen Stories. Check back to see what's new, then try one for yourself! Here's where to start:

Korean-style short ribs with pickled daikon

Korean-style short ribs with pickled daikon

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Japanese white curry

Japanese white curry

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Easy glass noodle soup with daikon radish and bok choy

Easy glass noodle soup with daikon radish and bok choy

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Roasted salmon with marinated daikon radish

Roasted salmon with marinated daikon radish

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Grilled chicken banh mi with pickled carrots and daikon radish

Grilled chicken banh mi with pickled carrots and daikon radish

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More delicious ideas for you