Daikon: Nutritional Information

Daikon chopped (click for full sized image)
Daikon washed and chopped for cooking
      The leaves are more nutritious than the roots and are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin K and folic acid. The root contains diastase and amylase, enzymes that help digestion and stimulate appetite.
      The pungent flavour is caused by MTBITC (4-methylthio-3-butenyl isothiocyanate) and this gives daikon antimicrobial, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic properties. It is formed when the enzyme myrosinase breaks down the glucosinolate MTBGSL (4-methylthio-3-butenyl glucosinolate) when cells are crushed. Highest concentrations of MTBGSL are found in the outer parts of the root (double that of the centre) and nearest the tip (10 times that of the upper parts of the root), which is why these parts exhibit the greatest pungency and why the top of the root is usually the sweetest. 'Karami' daikon contains up to 5 times as much MTBGSL as other varieties. Myrosinase is located almost exclusively in the skin so this should not be removed!
100g leaves contain:
      400 mg potassium, 260 mg calcium, 3900 µg beta-carotene, 330 µg retinol, 53 mg vitamin C, 270 µg vitamin K and 140 µg folic acid
100g root contains:
      230 mg potassium, 24 mg calcium, 10 mg magnesium, 18 mg phosphorus, 12 mg vitamin C and 34 µg folic acid
Daikon Kochin (click for full sized image)

How to Enjoy it:

Raw and grated it's strong sharp flavour is a good accompaniment for oily fish such as sardines and herring. Slice the raw root and add to salad, or cook in soups and stews. The leaves and small white flowers can be eaten raw or cooked and the leaves can be boiled or steamed briefly before chopping up to serve as a dark green side vegetable just like spinach.

Daikon cooked (click for full sized image)
Daikon 'Kochin' raw and sliced   Daikon after boiling in a pan for 1 minute in 2cm depth of water

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