Yesterday I paid a visit to a local famers market at the Lloyd center here in Portland, Oregon. While I was there, my main focus was finding an item I had never used or knew how to use. The first stand I approached had produce from a farm just outside of Portland, in Gresham. This farm was called Udan Farms, an organic family run farm that is run by Claire and her husband. I was lucky enough to have Claire there to answer all my questions and allow me to take some pictures of her beautiful produce. Udan Farm places a large emphasis on healthy, organic produce that is grown without any chemicals while having as little negative effects on the environment as possible. You can find out more information about the farm on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/udanfarmpdx/?ref=page_internal

Claire had a beautiful selection of greens, tomatoes, cabbage and many other items that I was familiar with. I was originally drawn to the lemon cucumbers because I had never seen anything like them before. Once Claire explained what they were and I’d sampled them I decided I should pick an item that was a little more challenging. The lemon cucumbers, however, were delicious so I bought a few anyways. I came across some daikon radishes and decided they would be the perfect item for this project. I have never bought, cooked or knowingly eaten daikon before so I thought it would be a great learning opportunity. Claire gave me a few suggestions of ways to eat it. Because it is pretty spicy she recommended I use it sparingly if I was eating it raw, maybe shredded over a salad. She also suggested pickling the daikon, which I could then use in a variety of ways.

After I left the farmers market I looked up a couple recipes and found some ideas that sounded pretty good to me. I found a recipe for a banh mi sandwich. In this recipe I would pickle the daikon along with some carrots and onion. The recipe I used can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/187342/banh-mi/ I also found a recipe for a ginger, carrot and daikon radish salad on the site early morning farm that can be found here: http://www.earlymorningfarm.com/ginger-carrot-daikon-radish-salad/ I decided to go with the banh mi since it was a whole meal and not only a side dish. Also, I’ve never done any pickling so the extra challenge sounded fun.

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For the banh mi I marinated and baked the chicken in a soyaki marinade from Trader Joes. I used French bread and made some sriracha aioli for the spread. I followed the recipes instructions for pickling which were to boil some water, rice vinegar and sugar and then pour over the daikon, carrots and onion. I added this to the sandwich along with some slices of the lemon cucumber, cilantro and a little limejuice. Overall, I thought the sandwich was delicious and I had a little left over pickled vegetables that I can use for some other recipes this week.

Daikon radishes can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can eat them raw in a salad sliced or grated. They can also be eaten in a coleslaw or deli style salad to add some crunch and spice. You can roast daikon radishes in the oven with a little olive oil. You can also pickle the daikon by pouring water, rice vinegar and sugar over the radish and allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes. There are also many different pickling recipes and techniques but that is just the one that I chose to do1. 

Aside from their great taste, daikon radishes have a lot of great stuff in them for you! In a standard serving size, 100g, there are 18 calories, 0.1g from fat, 21 mg sodium, 4.1g carbohydrates, 1.6g dietary fiber, 2.5g sugar and 0.6g protein. Daikon radishes contain 37% of your daily-recommended amount of vitamin C, 3% of your calcium and 2% of your iron. They contain 1% of your recommended Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and Pantothenic acid. They contain 2% of your Vitamin B6 and 7% of your folate. Additionally, Daikon radishes contain small amounts of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium.2

Daikon radishes originated in the Mediterranean before spreading to Asia. It is now the most produced vegetable in Japan. In Japan, two thin slices of Daikon are served at the end of the meal. In China, daikon is used as a digestive tea and tincture.3 Because of its ability to tolerate cold weather; daikon is known as a winter vegetable. They can be grown and harvested year round but the winter months produce the best radishes. To properly store daikon, you cut off the top, which helps to keep the moisture in the roots. After cutting off the top of the radish, store it in a baggie in the fridge. Daikon’s can last two weeks or more if stored this way. The daikon that I bought from Udan farms sold for $2.50 a pound, costing me less than a dollar. The amount of flavor provided in one of these radishes was well worth the cost in my opinion.

I think in the future I will continue to eat daikon radishes in the pickled form to add to sandwiches, wraps, and as a garnish to other dishes. I would also like to incorporate it into some salads and deli style salad like coleslaw or potatoes salad. Daikon radishes are delicious, inexpensive, available year round and so versatile. I’m excited to continue to use this vegetable in the future with all of the new knowledge I have gained.

 

Works Cited

  1. Harrington BJ. How to Prepare Daikon Radish | LEAFtv. LEAFtv. http://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-prepare-daikon-radish/. Accessed October 5, 2016.
  2. HealthAliciousNess. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/vegetables/daikon.php. Accessed October 5, 2016.
  3. https://www.facebook.com/specialtyproduceapp. Daikon Radish. Information, Recipes and Facts. http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/daikon_radish_744.php. Accessed October 5, 2016.
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