Breaking the curiosity behind Jaunpuri Radish


Radishes may not be the extensively popular vegetable in your garden, but they are one of the healthiest. These underestimated root vegetables are loaded with nutrients. They may even help or prevent some health conditions. Radishes are not well-studied for conventional medicinal purpose. Most studies have been done on animals, not humans. Even so, radishes have been employed as a folk remedy for centuries. They are utilized in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat many conditions such as fever, sore throat, bile disorders, and inflammation. But do you know that where is the largest radish grown?

The Jaunpuri Radish is known as the “Largest Radish in the World. ”Vernacular names: Newar Murai, Newar Mooli (Hindi), Giant Radish (Eng.) It has produced radishes at a standard length of 3 to 5 feet  and is capable of reaching 10 kg in weight and more! This traditional variety of Jaunpuri radish has a round bat like shape, unlike its longer and skinnier relatives.  During the British Period, Jaunpuri radishes became extremely popular, and today 90% of radish are produced and consumed in India.

The Jaunpuri Radish represents one of the few regionally cultivated varieties of Jaunpuri  still being grown in Jaunpur. Named after its place of cultivation, the radish is thought to have been grown since at least 1804 and most likely before this date.

Although the region has a long history of river activity that began to impact the production of this magnificent radish. Jaunpur is a composite of Gomti river that expresses irrigation activity.

As a traditional crop, it continues to have a key role in Jaunpuri cuisine. Jaunpuri Radish can be pickled in a salt brine and used as a “pickled things.” The large radish is known for having a sweeter and firmer flesh than other varieties. It also stores well in potato-like storage conditions. Therefore, it is well suited for simmering and for being used in soups, as it will keep its structure and firm texture. While the Jaunpuri Radish is no longer a key commercial crop of the region, it remains a beloved traditional crop. Recently the growing area has begun to expand again for its production.

Uses: The giant roots weighing up to 56 kg, are sent as one of the important gift items of “Khichdi Gift” from parents family to their married daughters. Root‟s taste is watery sweetish; eaten as salad; also pickled in various ways by the local women.

Distribution: India: Uttar Pradesh; Jaunpur District (village Jamaitha). Endemic and critically threatened (CR). Earlier found at Hasanpur, Baluaghat, Tadtal.Pandariba, Mufti Mohalla, Mulla tola localities; also recorded from Nauperwa locality -cult.).

Natural populations are getting depleted at an alarming rate, from its type locality (Jamaitha locality near Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, India).

Conservation: No attempt has been made so far.

A study was conducted to understand trends in the conservation of the locally adapted critically endangered radish landrace ‘Newar’. Conventionally grown in certain saline areas of Jaunpur city, Uttar Pradesh for use in salads, and for other traditional household uses, as well as the sale of fresh roots and seeds. An exploratory research design was adopted to collect data from 40 respondents, including 5 key informants. Specific agronomic characteristics of ‘Newar’ such as long roots that maintained organoleptic properties for an extended time, salt tolerance, compatibility for mixed cropping with hookah tobacco, varied traditional usage and generation of extra income from the seed crop played a critical role in sustaining ‘Newar’ radish cultivation in the past.

Nonetheless, conservation and trade of this variety have collapsed over the past two decades due to a range of factors, including rapid urbanization, changing consumer preferences, gradually vanishing hookah tobacco cultivation and disappearance of the seed network. Concerted policy and scientific efforts are urgently needed to revive the cultivation of this unique horticultural resource.

In Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh of Indian Union, an endemic radish has been associated with the culture of the people of the district, since remote epoch. There is a system of sending gifts by the parents/brothers to the married daughters on the occasion of Khichdi(Makar- Sankranti) festival. One of the most important Khichdi gift items has been the typical giant radish which is available in the markets of Jaunpur City and its suburbs only. This radish has been growing only in Jamaitha village of the Jaunpur district.

A scrutiny of the relevant literature revealed it to be an undescribed taxon. Hence the same is being described here as under as a new species:

Scientific Information of Jaunpuri Radish

Allied to Raphanus sativus but significantly differs in size, weight and taste of the roots. All aerial parts like leaves, inflorescence, fruits and stems are also significantly larger than R sativus. But seeds are smaller and dull in colour. Plants erect, stout, herbaceous, turning ligneous on maturity, up to 180 cm (or more) high above ground. Tap roots white, stout, up to 56 kg in weight; cylindrical, up to 210 cm or more in length, up to 75 cm in circumference, rarely sub-globose. Leaves roughly pilose, c. 90×9 cm, lyrate-pinnatipartite, with sinuate-dentate segments, variable, 3-1jugate, upper ones entire or dentate, sessile or sub-sessile, dark green, turning yellow on maturity, rough (pilose); uppermost lobe obovate, broadest. Racemes white, pedicels up to 25cm long. Flowers white; sepals greenish yellow. Petals 4, obovate, white; stamens yellow; pods up to 1×7cm, long-beaked; seeds subglobose, uniseriate, dull gray in colour. Flowering / Fruiting: February-March. Habitat: Along the banks of the Gomti River.

The takeaway

Jaunpuri mooli dishes are an answer to your weekday meal dilemmas.Mooli or white radish is a local crop of Jaunpur and a staple in almost every household. A mooli ki sabzi with puri or roti should be on your list if you wish to try something local. Even otherwise, club your meal with raw mooli and  slice of lime as an accompaniment and you’re sorted.