Daikon have become an acquired taste for me. I grew my first crop as an experiment to see how well they would do and whether or not I would enjoy eating them. They reached maturity in 30 days and they all reached maturity at the same time. Some were developing a bacterial wilt that can be common in brassicas however, so we harvested them all at the same time. Twenty daikon is a bit much for two people to eat within a reasonable time frame. I decided to take the preservation route. I’m thrilled to say that pickled daikon is now one of my very favorite condiments. The aromatics and vinegar cause the radish to burst with flavor and the chile adds the perfect amount of heat. I use them as a garnish for salads, fish, wraps, or even as a light snack. Daikon is a good source of Vitamin C, minerals and beneficial digestive enzymes.
Did I mention they are easy to grow? They also go to seed here which means the seed can be saved and replanted without being purchased from the mainland.
Ginger Pickled Daikon
4 large daikon radish julienned
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 c tamari
2 inches minced ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 hawaiian hot chiles (more or less according to your preference)
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass jar with a non reactive lid. Let sit 24 hours before serving. Flavor intensifies the longer it sits. Can last several months in refrigerator.
I would like to add that ginger is a highly medicinal and wonderful aromatic used world wide. Ginger is reported to be a digestive aid, alleviates highblood pressure, treats nausea and morning sickness, and lowers LDL cholesterol. The two cultivars grown in Hawaii, much of it in Hilo and Puna on the Big Island, are Japanese and Chinese. The predominant cultivar grown and sold in Hawaii is the Chinese variety. It has larger rhizomes, lighter colored flesh and considered not as pungent as the Japanese. Buy organic ginger! Conventional ginger is treated with many fungicides and pesticides.
My favorite Kauai ginger farmer is Ben Ferris, owner of Kolo Kai Farms in Kilauea. He is certified organic and his ginger is beautiful. He also sells sweet potatoes, avocado and a variety of fruits and vegetables. His goods are available at the Thursday farmer’s market in Kilauea and the Tuesday farmer’s market just passed Hanalei in Waipa.
My favorite ginger/farming website…..Seriously….go to this website for ginger entertainment in Puna!
Hawaii Grown Hot Chiles
Sweet peppers are not a highly successful crop on Kauai due to the Solanaceae Fruit Fly. This pest can destroy most varieties in the Solanaceae family . This particular fruit fly has 33 hosts it can lay its larvae within thereby making the fruit inedible. Luckily, Hawaiian hot peppers remain largely unaffected by this fly. And they are HOT! I usually use 1-2 peppers for seasoning and this is plenty heat for me. The pepper plants are high producing and easy to grow. I just feed it compost at the roots and spirulina tea once a month and it produces dozens of small 1-1 1/2 inch peppers. I use them for hot sauce, pickling, chile powder and any dish needing a punch. One Kauai farmer that grows beautiful sweet peppers, cucumbers, watermelon and a variety of other foods is Dylan Strong of Growing Strong Farms. He shelters his crops with hand made protective coverings and gives them lots of TLC! Visit him at the Kapa’a farmer’s market Wednesday’s at 3 pm. Get there early!
This Pretty Purple Hot Pepper is growing at the Regenerations Botanical Garden and Food Forest.