Daikon is one of the most popular vegetables in Japan.

This radish is consumed raw, as a grated topping for fish and meat, in salads and even as various kinds of pickles. Although daikon is available year-round, the varieties in season this time of year are generally bred for their sweetness and tenderness — a great match to all kinds of stewed dishes such as oden, a popular fish cake and vegetable stew, or the simmered dish called furofuki daikon.

Daikon probably came to Japan from mainland Asia around the Yayoi Period (200 B.C.-250 A.D.), but it wasn’t farmed in quantity until the Edo Period (1603-1868), which saw more than 100 varieties developed around the country. Even Tokyo had its own local variety: the Nerima daikon. These days, only 10 varieties dominate the market.