Sunday, December 14, 2008

December harvest


Coming from northern Europe, I still am delighted by the fact that gardens in Japan keep producing all year long and the ground doesn't become frozen solid like concrete! Started picking Komatsuna, which is often called Japanese Mustard Spinach in English, but is actually not related to either mustard or spinach. It is believed that the name derives from a Kamatsu, once a village near Edo.


Cauliflower, karifurawa in Japanese, is not wildly popular in Japan. It was introduced from Europe in the Meiji Period. You don't often see it in supermarkets, so I was surprised one day while walking a backroad to come across a farm building filled with cauliflowers being boxed. I asked the farmer "how much" and he just gave me one. The kindness of strangers is something I've experienced often in all the countries I've lived in, but in Japan it tends to be in the countryside. On the same walk a car stopped, the driver handed me a big ripe persimmon, then drove off.


Yoko tried planting some ginger this year, but only half of it came up. Shoga in Japanese, it was introduced from China about 1,800 years ago. It is used a lot in Japanese cooking, but my favorite way of eating it is the thin slices that accompany sushi.


  1. Once in Nagano, a little old lady saw me buying tomatoes in the store. She said, "Don't buy those! Follow me!" Outside in the parking lot she handed me a bag filled with fresh picked tomatoes, eggplant, and squash. Amazing how kind people are with produce.

  2. Love the interesting trivia you garnish your beautiful pictures with!