NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (October 2021) - Yuzu: Japan’s Citrus Treasure (柚子)
YUZUKA (POWDERED YUZU ZEST)
Affectionately known as the “Village of Yuzu”, Inai Town in Usa City in Oita Prefecture is surrounded by lush green mountains, beautiful clear streams and some of the country’s best yuzu. Kushino Farm cultives their yuzu using organic farming methods to produce thisyuzuka (powdered yuzu zest) which is made entirely from carefully selected yuzu peels grown on their farm. The zest holds an abundance of the yuzu’s citrus flavors and natural oils, making this the perfect way to add the refreshing taste of yuzu to almost any food you can imagine!
Ingredients:100% dried yuzu peel
Suggested uses:Sprinkle on everything from soups to salads, mains to desserts, sauces and even in cocktails.
SHINSHU’S YUZU TARTAR SAUCE
Producer:Shinshu Shizen Okoku
This artisanal tartar sauce is a delectable example of the concepts of fives in Japanese cuisine.Gomi is the practice of balancing all five tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami - in a way where no one taste overpowers the others, but instead a perfect harmony of flavors is achieved.
You may be surprised to find out that mayonnaise is a popular condiment in Japan. Japan has its own style of mayo which tends to have a smoother flavor than Western mayo. Japanese mayo uses egg yolks while Western mayo tends to use the whole egg. Japanese mayo also typically includes more mellow tasting oils and less acidic vinegars compared to what is used in the west.
Shinshu Shizen Okoku creates their own unique style of mayo by blending rapeseed oil with smooth apple cider vinegar, naturally sweet honey, and a blend of salt and spices. To this they add the aromatic citrus peel of yuzu and another regional Japanese ingredient: sweet pickledrakkyo. Rakkyo looks similar to garlic but is actually a Japanese scallion. It has a crisp texture and bite, with subtle garlic undertones. Pickling the rakkyo helps to mellow its naturally strong flavors resulting in a sweeter flavor. These ingredients are then artfully combined to create a tartar sauce that balances all five tastes.
In an effort to protect the natural environment and to go beyond just being “earth-friendly”, Shinshu Shizen Okoku coined the term “Environmental Cultivation” - anapproach that removes any burden on the environment throughout their entire process, from their organic farming, to production and processing, and even to how they ship their products.
Ingredients:Mayonnaise (rapeseed oil, egg, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, spices), yuzu peel, sweet pickledrakkyo (Japanese scallion), wine vinegar, grape juice concentrate, yuzu juice, salt, pepper
Suggested uses:Use as a sauce or dip for meats, seafood or vegetables, or as a substitute for mayo such as in sandwiches.If you like, you can add chopped onion or boiled egg to make it more hearty, or use it as a sauce for the Chicken Nanban with Tartar Sauce recipe provided.
YUZU MISO & NORI ARARE (RICE CRACKERS)
These bite-sizedarare (crackers made frommochi or glutinous rice) are a luxurious blend of sweet citrus yuzu and umami rich miso from Kochi prefecture wrapped in seaweed. You’ll notice the distinct yuzu flavor and aroma as you chew and how it blends perfectly with the miso and seaweed.
Kuramaan was established in 1931 by a founder who apprenticed under the famous okaki maker, Masuda Eishodo, and the shop is now in its third generation. However, like many traditional companies in Japan, even the rice cracker industry is seeing a decline in the number of local producers. There were over 1,000 rice cracker stores in Japan when Kuramaan was founded and now there are only 500. In Kyoto, there were 50 okaki shops, but now there are only 23. Kuramaan has been able to persevere, even through hard times, and continues to focus on the founder’s philosophy of producing the bestokaki andarare (rice crackers made withmochi, or glutinous rice) using high quality ingredients and traditional production methods.
To ensure the freshest taste, Kuramaan only polishes the required amount of mochi rice each day, and steams and pounds the rice using the same methods from almost a century ago. Because of this, the rice has a natural sweetness, becomes fluffy and airy when pounded, and maintains its natural flavor when baked. The entire process is done by hand and the condition of the rice dough is constantly monitored. They then flavor their okaki and arare with fresh, seasonal ingredients, such as yuzu harvested in the late fall and early winter.
Ingredients:Mochi (glutinous rice, domestic), tamari soybeans (including soybeans and wheat), sugar,nori (seaweed), yuzu, miso,konbu dashi (kelp stock), katsuo dashi(bonito stock)
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is with your favorite tea from our Japanese Green & Specialty Teas: “Ryu” Care Package.
Kanten is a firm, jelly-like substance commonly found in Japanese sweets and since it’s made from seaweed, it’s completely vegan-friendly and gluten-free. By itself, kanten has no flavor, so it is the perfect base to highlight the tart citrus taste of fresh yuzu peels. Kanten is also packed with fiber - more than 5 times the fiber of lettuce!
Besshiame Honpo was founded in the beginning of the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and specializes in local confectionery. Shinichi Ochi, the first president ofBesshiame (lit. “Besshi candy”), named the company after the local Besshi Copper Mine in Niihama City, which lasted for almost 300 years before closing in 1973. Their Besshi candy has since become one of the most popular souvenirs of the Seto Inland Sea and is a symbol of the centuries old copper mine. They continually strive to improve the quality of their candy, which are made from carefully selected ingredients including local yuzu from Ehime Prefecture. They also take great pride in the delicate shape and color of their packaging which is designed to tell the story of the original Besshi Copper Mine.
Ingredients:Sugar, yuzu peel, agar
Suggested uses:Delicious on its own as a dessert or sweet afternoon treat. You can also store it in the freezer and serve it frozen.
Our producer, Vegetable Park, grows their own variety of sustainable and seasonal produce on their farm in Nose, just outside of Osaka. The farm is run by Ayumu and Emi Ueda and their adorable young children (visit them at @vegetablepark). The couple faced numerous challenges when they first began farming in the region's unpredictable climate, yet have learned to embrace Mother Nature and to see the beauty in her creations. They now share their love of agriculture with their community through the artisanal and seasonal products they create, and encourage everyone to come and visit their farm to experience the harvest of the land.
Vegetable Park’s yuzu syrup is made from their delicious yuzu from the Yuzu Mountain in Nose, Osaka, sugar, and honey from the 100 flowers of Nose, resulting in a delightfully refreshing and mellow taste.
Ingredients:Sugar (from Tanegashima), yuzu juice (from Nose, Osaka), honey (from Nose, Osaka), yuzu peel (from Nose, Osaka)
Suggested uses:To make a refreshing beverage,dilute 5 times (1 part of this product to 4 parts of flat or sparkling water). Can also be served over ice, with hot water or add your favorite alcohol to make a delicious cocktail. Store in the refrigerator after opening and consume as soon as possible. Shake well before using.
Producer:Kenichi Natural Farm
If you've been served a cup of tea in Japan, it's most likely sencha. Sencha is the most commonly consumed and produced tea in Japan, making up 80% of all tea production in the country.
All teas - black, green, oolong, pu’erh and white tea - come from theCamellia Sinensis plant, but differ based on where they are grown, how they are harvested and how they are processed. Japan produces much of the world's best green tea, with different varieties and quality to choose from.
Green tea is harvested in early to mid spring in Japan. The leaves for sencha are grown in direct sunlight and tend to be harvested in the first or second flush. The leaves of the upper shoots, which are the youngest and of higher quality, are then steamed, dried and rolled into needle-like shapes, which helps to intensify the flavor. Sencha has a delicate sweetness and a mild astringency.
In this yuzu sencha, sencha from Nara Prefecture is combined with the rich citrus flavor of yuzu peels that have been crushed by hand to maximize their flavor. The tea has a perfect balance of bitter and sweet aroma and taste.
Kenichi Nature Farm got its start in 2001 when Kenichi Ikawa rented farmland that had been abandoned on a mountain on the east side of the Nara basin. He cleared the land singlehandedly and began cultivating tea without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. Kenichi Nature Farm now manages over 30 tea fields totalling over 11 hectares. Every part of the plant is treasured and put to use - the leaves to make tea, the flowers for flavoring, and even the roots and stems for natural skincare.
Ingredients:Green tea (Nara Prefecture), yuzu peel powder (Kochi Prefecture)
Suggested uses:Hot brew: Brew one tea bag in 300-400ml of hot water (95℃) for 3 mins or in 140ml of hot water (95℃) for 1 minute for the first brew, then 3 minutes for the second brew.Cold brew: Brew one tea bag in cold water (5℃) for a minimum of 1 hour.