Local, Organic Japanese Fruits and Veggies

I’m in Japan! Things have fallen silent on my blog recently as I settle into my new surroundings, but from now on I hope to keep you guys up to date on everything that’s been going on over here.

I am staying in Tokaimura, Ibaraki prefecture for the next month. This place is all about sweet potatoes. There are so many sweet potato vendors and growers all over the city. Each time you walk by one you can smell them roasting, and the air is filled with this incredibly rich, smoky aroma.

These guys right here. These…

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These are what’s guilty for my endlessly growling stomach ever since I arrived in Tokaimura. There are so many different varieties growing here, but the ones you see in this photo are my favorite so far. They call them Beni Haruka. They’re purple on the outside, and inside they are a rich yellow, with an almost vanilla-like flavour. They are unreal.

If you like sweet potatoes, or basically any fresh vegetables and fruits, this place is paradise! It’s almost the middle of December, and still there are persimmons, passion fruit, lemons, oranges, kiwis, guavas, and all sorts of veggies growing all over the place.

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It has been such a luxury to have an endless supply of fresh, organic produce. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Many of the people who live here have their own gardens or fields, and are so generous with whatever they grow. In the short time that I have been here, I have been lucky enough to receive boxes and boxes of locally grown goodies, including various types of radishes, cabbages, squashes, and carrots that were very kindly brought over by the neighbors.

For example, check out this massive daikon radish that was just given to the family I’m staying with. It weighs something around three or four kilograms. Yup, just another run of the mill day in Tokaimura. I want to live here for ever and ever.

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18 thoughts on “Local, Organic Japanese Fruits and Veggies

  1. Wow, what a culinary adventure! I love sweet potatoes too, and eat them all the time. It must be wonderful to be surrounded by all kinds of them. Your photos are gorgeous! I look forward to your next instalment. Safe travels!

    1. How do you like to cook your sweet potatoes? The way we use them in North America is so different from here in Japan! I don’t think they ever do the things I’m used to seeing in Canada, like sweet potato and black bean veggie burgers, mashed sweet potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon. It seems to be all about dried potatoes and roasted potatoes, and even doing things like whipping them into a sweet potato cream and using that for desserts haha
      It’s very interesting and fun, for sure!!

  2. I’ve recently been working with purple Japanese sweet potatoes… they really are excellent and have a very unique flavor and texture.

    1. Exactly, they’re very different aren’t they! I tried purple sweet potato fries the other day, and they came out so much softer and sweeter than with other types of sweet potatoes.

      1. I didn’t even think about fries, they would be good for that! I was testing them in a new soup, but they haven’t been available of late…. back to the American types for me.

      2. Oh good idea! I’ll bet they add a really nice colour to the soup. You know what, I actually tried chopping them up and then cooking them together with rice in the rice cooker. The potatoes come out perfectly steamed, and the rice turns purple! 😀

  3. Yay! Finally a new post 😉 I am so intrigued by all the new fruits and veggies here – and so jealous that you get to enjoy those beautiful sweet potatoes. I’ve had purple sweet potatoes before and absolutely love them! You must be in a fruit and veggie heaven right now!

    1. Haha I know! I don’t usually get my hands on good quality local sweet potatoes in Vancouver so this feels insanely luxurious. I also have a whole bunch of kiwi, persimmons, and passion fruit that grew in the yard and they’re almost perfectly ripe now. I can’t believe all this stuff is just growing on trees all over the place. So happy 😛

      1. Persimmons! I always see them in the grocery store but have never been brave enough to pick one up. How do you like them? What’s the best way to enjoy a persimmon?

      2. Have you never tried a persimmon?? They are so incredible. If you get one, make sure you let it sit on the counter until the skin looks a little shriveled and the fruit is very, very soft to the touch. Otherwise, it’s basically just an apple.
        If you let it ripen, the texture gets very soft and smooth (almost like a mango, but I know you don’t like mangoes haha), and the flavour is kind of like a date.
        I usually just eat them the way they are, although I did try making a persimmon salsa the other day. Drying them is also very popular, and they come out looking like a date or a massive raisin 😛

      3. No, I’ve never had one before! My friend had one once and told me it was like a strange orange that was super disappointing. But WOW – a mango-date sounds really tasty! Do you slice them up and eat them as is?

  4. What a fab culinary adventure! good for you! I love all of the different colors of sweet potatoes, I am mad for them! 🙂
    Cool lovely photos of the different fruits & veggies there!

    1. Thanks! I love sweet potatoes, too. And they have so many other unique fruits and veggies here that I’ve never even heard of before. It’s really fun!

  5. I love these sweet potatoes…we get them in India too…my granny makes the best dishes with them!…Thanks for sharing and you have a lovely blog:)

    1. That’s so neat! What are some of your favorite sweet potato dishes?
      The way that sweet potatoes are used in Japan and Canada is so different, and I’m sure that India must have great uses for them. Indian cuisine is the best 🙂

      1. I’m so glad you like Indian cuisine…we make something called a Raita…boiled and roughly mashed sweet potatoes with salt and lots of yogurt. Then tempered with oil, mustard seeds and green chillies…

      2. Absolutely. Indian food is my favorite!
        I’m familiar with raita using cucumber and mint, but I didn’t know you could put sweet potatoes in it. That’s so neat! It sounds really amazing. I will try making it sometime soon, but it may not come out as nice!

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