FRUITS YOU SHOULD EAT IN JAPAN: KURI (CHESTNUTS)

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Chestnut

Chestnut trees bloom in spring and bear fruit in autumn. Chestnuts are good to eat when ripen and fall to the ground.  Heavy and lustrous ones should be tasty.  If you have a chance to harvest chestnuts , you will need tongs and a bucket, and then gather up the nuts with open burrs one by one.

1. The Feature of Japanese Chestnuts

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Chestnuts

It is said that chestnuts have been eaten in Japan for about 5000 years. Since chestnuts are vulnerable to worm attacks, people have been devoted to protecting fruits from vermin. When summer is over and cool wind starts to blow, the season of chestnut comes. “Tamba chestnut” in Kyoto, though there is not much production, is well- known brand in Japan.

2. The Best Season and Production Areas

The main production areas are Ibaraki, Kumamoto, and Ehime Prefecture. It comes into season between September and October.

3. How to eat Japanese Chestnuts in Japan

Japanese chestnut has the moist texture and it is good to be boiled to eat. After boiled, both hard skin and thin one are peeled to be eaten. The feature of the taste is noble. Also, the fruit is bigger than chestnuts from other countries. For Japanese sweets such as kuri dorayaki (pancake filled with bean jam and chestnuts) and kuri youkan (sweet bean jelly with chestnuts), boiled chestnuts are put as it is taking advantage of their size. The way of enjoying chestnuts themselves is preferred as kuri gohan, or steamed rice with chestnuts.
The western pastry called Mont blanc made by decorating with cream of chestnut paste is also popular.

 

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Kuri Gohan, or Steamed Rice with Chestnuts

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Kuri Youkan, or Sweet Bean Jelly with Chestnuts

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Kuri Dorayaki, or Pancake Filled with Bean Jam and Chestnuts

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Mont Blanc

4. Event Related to Japanese Chestnuts

There are some events related to Japanese chestnuts in production areas.

・“ The Largest Chestnuts Festival in Western Japan 2017”(Food Kingdom Yamaga)

“Nakayama Chestnuts Festival ”(Iyo-City)