when and where to see fall foliage (Japanese version only):

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the winter solstice

People in Japan eat pumpkins and take yuzu bath in an effort to protect the body against the cold winter on day of the winter solstice. 

We boil pieces of a pumpkin while keeping its shape better.

Yuzu(柚子:Citrus junos)

The yuzu tree in my garden is bearing a lot of fruit now. Its young leaves are bitten by two kinds of swallowtail butterfly larvae, but only old boughs bear fruits and I don't want the tree to become large. So I don't larvicide.

yuzu flower

Popular yubeshi is made by steaming a mixture of glutinous rice powder, miso(fermented soybean paste), soy sauce, sugar and water. It is often coated with oblate powder, but these are coated with kori-mochi because I was out of the powder. These include crushed walnuts.

Original yubeshi was made by stuffing a mixture of glutinous rice powder and miso into hollowed-out yuzu and steaming it as preserved foods or portable rations. It dates back around the end of the 12th century.

In the book named Nihon Saijiki(日本歳時記), Kaibara Ekiken(貝原益軒, 1630~1714) recommended to buy yuzu in the 11th month and make yubeshi and gave a recipe for making yubeshi.

It is thought to be close to Maru-yubeshi(丸柚餅子) in Wajima(輪島) of Ishikawa Prefecture, which is made by stuffing a mixture of glutinous rice powder and secret ingredients into hollowed-out yuzu, steaming it several times and lay out it to dry in the sun for four months. It is completed in spring. So maru-yubeshi is expensive.


A confection using unripe yuzu.

Furofuki Daikon(風呂吹き大根)

I topped a piece of boiled daikon radish with sweet miso and yuzu zest.


  1. What on earth is "oblate powder"? I don't think that means anything in English.

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Oblate powder is made of potato starch, cornstarch and soya lecthin. It's used as a cooking ingredient to preserve gelatinous sweets such as gummy candies, jelly sweets by absorbing humidity.
      Some foods websites such as UPC Food Search, feature "oblate powder" as an ingredient.

    2. Thanks for answering so quickly! Can you tell me Japanese name for this ingredient?

    3. It's called "oburato-ko(オブラート粉)" in Japanese. The Dutch language "oblaat" or the German language "Oblate" is adopted using similar Japanese pronunciation "oburato".