Saturday, September 19, 2009

From the forest

kuri

Kuri, Japanese Chestnuts, are starting to fall from the trees now. It's an indigenous tree of the Japanese islands, and the nuts have been consumed for thousands of years. Along with bamboo shoots and mushrooms, it is one of the most avidly harvested wild foods and people rarely divulge the location of their favorites trees. Kurigohan, rice cooked with chestnuts, is a common dish at this time of the year, and kuri are used extensively in sweets and confectionery.

akebi

These not particularly appetizing-looking fruits are Akebi, with the curious name of Chocolate Vine in English. Not collected much anymore as they are not very sweet and mostly seeds, but were popular in earlier times when the Japanese had less sugar in their diet. The bears and monkeys continue to love them.

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