Let’s make Aso Takana, with a local pickling recipe

Hello everyone,

 

Today a little recipe for takana pickles as these are one of the most famous products of Aso. Takana is a leafy mustard plant that grows very easily, considering the harsh winters in Aso.

    See here our previous report on takana!

Today, our friend and collegue Thea prepared a whole bucket of pickled takana to share with friends and family.

Let’s dive into it: the recipe.

First of all, ingredients and utensils:

Japanese supermarkets are extremely well organized and as the season starts, hold ready a whole bunch of utensils to prepare your homemade pickles. You will find the bucket, salt, red peppers and weights. The takana leaves themselves are sold in markets, but you can easily ask for some to the lovely elderly lady that most probably cultivates those in her backyard. Luckily, preparing those pickles is also kind of a people of Aso tradition.

 

 

Preparation:

First and foremost, one shall know that takana leaves are never washed before the pickling process. That would eliminate most of its prickly taste! To the leaves, we then add salt to up to 8percent for long fermentation and only 4percent for the takana we’ll eat in the next few days.

Then, applying soft pressure to the leaves, so the salt penetrates the leaves lightly. Adding some peppers, cut to small bits, is a personal favorite, but the takana leaves’ fermentation process also thrives without them.

Finally, we pack the leaves in small bundles and places them carefully in our bucket where they will rest and ferment at room temperature for one week for the “young fermentation”, but up to one year for long term fermentation ( the salty one).

 

 

After the first week, we’ll cleans the leaves, to take out salt and other impurities and cut a few bundles for immediate consumption, the rest is then left, just like miso for as long as we want. It’s taste will be taking up along the way. What a pleasure that will be, to find again in a few months, the taste of our Spring vegetable.

 

 

I guess this will makes some mouth water a little, but I have to leave you here wanting for pickled tastes and textures. I hope to write from the takana-filled caldera of Aso, soon again!

Nathalie insta

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