The two Japanese characters that make up the word daikon (Japanese radish) mean "great root." Although the great roots typically weigh three to five pounds and measure eighteen inches long, one variety can grow to over 100 pounds!
Although daikon is usually associated with Asian cuisine, botanists believe it originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. From there it spread east, arriving in China about 500 B.C. and in Japan around 700 A.D.
Pickled, raw, dried, or cooked, the leaves and roots of daikon is one of Japan's most prized and widely used vegetables. Folk healers and scientists alike have noted the outstanding nutritional and medicinal qualities of raw and pickled daikon. Simply steamed with a little soy sauce, or elegantly prepared in the temple tradition with white miso sauce, the flavor of cooked daikon root is truly unique and delicious.