George has finally found his "Home Sweet Home" after 14 years of searching. George convinced Erika to move back to Japan, but it has been an uphill struggle. There are many problems that lie ahead for George and Erika before they can finally call Japan, "Home Sweet Home". Please join them as they face the difficulties and celebrate the successes. The journey promises to be entertaining as well as informative.
Summer in Tsukahara
Spring in Tsukahara
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
In Search of Springtime
“Why are all
these people roaming around in the fields around here?” I asked Erika. “They are
searching for warabi and taranome”, Erika replied. It must be spring. I
experienced this springtime ritual last year, but I had forgotten what it was
all about. Apparently, Tsukahara is a good place to find warabi and taranome.
What are they? Good question. They are plants that are edible. What do they
look like? Here are some pictures:
What do they
taste like? So many questions…I tasted warabi once when my next door neighbor
made a salad or something with it. I think my comment was, “That’s it? What’s
the big deal? It doesn’t taste like anything.” The reply from our neighbor was,
“It supposed to taste like springtime.” My honest reply, “Umm, okay.” I haven’t
eaten it since. The taranome is a relatively rare and hard to find. Taranome
are the new shoots that come from a hideous looking tree that is covered with
spikes. I think it’s so rare because no one wants to have this ugly thing
growing in their yard. Lucky us…we have quite a few trees on the property next
to us. Taranome is precious because the shoots have to be eaten as a sprout.
Timing is critical. In the big cities, taranome is served at
only the most expensive restaurants. My reaction to this factoid…why? Well,
because it represents springtime.
late husband planted the taranome seeds on the property between us. He didn’t
want those ugly looking trees in his yard. Our neighbor closely guards these
plants even though they are not on her property… good luck with that. Since we
have to look at them, we harvest whatever we want. Erika does her best to give
this stuff away. I was told that it makes a very tasty tempura. I was also
informed that the white sap that oozes from the severed sprouts are very sweet.
The army of ants that invade the trees, after harvest, can attest to the