Many times when I am looking for something new to try fermenting, I try to find out why other cultures may have chosen to ferment particular foods. A few weeks ago, I decided to try some daikon. These radishes are served often by the Japanese, and with good reason. They are an amazing source of digestive enzymes that help to break down fats, carbs and protein. Of course these digestive benefits are increased by fermentation! These enzymes also help dissolve mucus in the respiratory system. Daikon has plenty of phytonutrients that help to strengthen the immune system and fight cancer. It is a good source of phosphorous which is essential for tooth and bone health.
It has the important amino acid cysteine, which means it also helps with detoxification:
[Daikon]…is a very effective diuretic. It causes the kidneys to process waste more effectively and thus excrete more urine. This helps to both improve kidney function and to treat edema. It also helps to clean the blood, eliminating the toxins through the kidneys, liver, sweat glands and digestive tract. Because of this, it helps food be digested more completely leading to less over eating and often weight loss. – herbwisdom.com
Enzymes are destroyed by cooking pretty quickly, so fruits and vegetables are especially beneficial in their raw state. However, they can contain anti-nutrients that makes it difficult for us to get the nutrition they offer, and they can otherwise be very difficult to digest. Fermenting these foods helps to pre-digest them while preserving and enhancing their nutrients so that we can get the most out of them!
I asked around for a good recipe but ended up winging it a little, what resulted was really good! My son decided it was too spicy, so I made a separate batch of daikon with ginger and carrots for him.
Spicy Fermented Daikon Recipe (Makes 1 quart)
1 ½lbs Daikon, peeled and cut into thin chips (I used my slicer)
1/2 medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
Approx 1 inch of ginger, grated, or a tbsp of ginger powder
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sweet variety of honey
15 grams salt (approximately 1 tbsp)
Filtered water (approximately 2 cups)
1. Put spices into jar, then fill with daikon slices
2. Mix up your brine (the salt and water) and pour over the daikon. You want them submerged.
3. Close jar and ferment 5-7 days. Move the fridge where you can enjoy right away or age longer!
My family really enjoyed these and I am actually going to make up another batch sometime this week. If I’m to be completely honest, they ran out quite quickly. The only thing that has ever disappeared quicker than these was tomato salsa!
If you decide to try these, let me know what you think!
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