Radical value from cheap radish sprouts?

It feels like a lot of us picked up new hobbies last year for…reasons, and our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori was no exception. In fact, he even found a way to let a new hobby sprout up from one of his most established hobbies: buying weird stuff at the 100 yen (US$0.90) store.

Towards the end of summer 2020, Go decided to flex his green thumb and buy a bunch of seed packets from Daiso where they cost 100 yen for two sachets. One of the packets he purchased were seeds for edible daikon radish shoots, a popular vegetable to sprinkle over salads and mix into pasta.

▼ The sachet promised harvests within two weeks…

▼ …and Go’s were ready in five days.

Edible shoots are a great way to up your intake of healthy greens without a ton of effort, so Go happily continued to harvest his daikon radish shoots for two weeks and used the cute leafy sprouts to spruce up his meals.

▼ Attractive and nutritious!

After the two weeks, the leaves started to get…well, kinda weird.

▼ And really, really big.

Figuring they would work just as well as edible sprouts, Go snipped away some of the smaller leaves too and used them to garnish even more pasta dishes.

▼ Greens are greens, right?

But the freakishly huge radish sprouts just kept getting bigger and bigger. Go decided to leave it to do its own business, and by this, we mean that he continued to lovingly nurture it and water it and helped it get big and strong. Seven months later, he noticed that some pretty white flowers had sprouted at the tips of those gigantic green shoots. Fascinated by their eternal upward climb, Go decided to let them keep growing. How high could they possibly get?

But then, disaster!

▼ High winds practically snapped the stalk with the white flowers into two pieces!

Go swallowed his ambitions to have a super-tall radish plant and picked up the remnants. Now that it had been separated at the stalk, it would only wither away if he left it.

▼ Farewell, sweet shoot…

But with the tallest sprout removed, Go could get a glimpse at the soil in the planter. And there was something very splendid indeed lurking within the foliage.

▼ Look closer…

▼ Aha!

He foraged inside the mess of stalks and leaves to pull out the protruding shape. It looked familiar.

▼ Very familiar.

That’s right. Nestled deep into the soil, growing strong and healthy for all these months…was a daikon radish!

So Go purchased these edible shoots, tended to them, cut them loose and cooked with them, savored the new leaves as they grew in, nurtured the plant until it flowered beautifully for seven months…and now he had been rewarded with a fat, tasty radish! Have you ever heard of a more inspiring story from a budding gardener?!

Anyway, enough sentiment. It was time for the moment of truth.

Go was going to cook it.

When he placed it on the cutting board and chopped into it, he discovered that this particular radish had grown a very thick skin. In fact, it was so thick that he only had to squeeze it a little for it to separate from the flesh entirely.

When he peeled and chopped up the radish into satisfying chunks, he sampled a little. It tasted just like a regular daikon radish! He swore to pickle it in a mild seasoning and eat it like that.

“If it tastes salty, it’s from my tears of joy.”

Later he did exactly that and served it up as a home-grown side dish.

▼ Who says you need to be a fancy gardener to grow your own food?

▼ Bon appetit!

We hope this story inspires you to go out and grow something of your own, or at the very least to pick up a hobby you can stick with for seven months and reap the rewards from. It’s okay if those rewards don’t come in the form of daikon radish, but if they do, we have some great recommendations for how to serve it as a meal.

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