Kozena daikon

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Kozena daikon

Kozena daikon

While usually the root of the daikon (radish of the Raphanus sativus species) is eaten, in the case of the Kozena radish, the leaves are the edible part. This particular daikon ecotype is grown in the Kami city region, in the Miyagi Prefecture. There are two versions on the Kozena daikon’s origin: according to the first, it was already in cultivation in the area during the Edo period (1600-1867), while the second states that it was introduced by a traveler around 1871. In any case, it is certain that the local population has been growing and consuming the Kozena daikon (whose name comes from Koze) since the end of the 19th century. Several decades after its start, Chinese cabbage cultivation began in the Koze area, which around 1935, began to replace the turnip. In 1985, in attempts to recover this heirloom variety, several producers formed a cooperative and re-launched the Kozena daikon’s cultivation and processing. The cooperative received assistance from the prefecture and the Kami Municipality and sold the radish at local farmers’ markets, however, they were unable to invert the trend. As a result of aging members, the absence of new growers and the progressive contraction of its consumption, today the Kozena daikon is only produced by one family for its own consumption. The planting season (the seed is conserved at the Miyagi Prefecture’s agro-botanical laboratory) is primarily done during the first 15 days of August. It is harvested near the end of November when the leaves have reached a length of one meter. The leaves are not dried, but conserved through tsukemono, a traditional method of preserving vegetables that requires the product – in this case, Kozena daikon leaves – to be covered in salt. The tsukemono process allows the leaves to be used until August of the year following the harvest. Kozena daikon is now produced in Kami city, Miyagi prefecture.

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Territory

StateJapan
Region

Tohoku