Wakegi no nuta
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Image Source : Onomichi Slow Food Community Development Promotion Council
- Main lore areas
Onomichi City, Mihara City, Kure City
- Main ingredients used
Wakegi, white miso, sugar, vinegar, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine)
- History/origin/related events
It is a hybrid of leek and shallot, and has a unique aroma different from that of green onions. It is a member of the leek family, but has a unique aroma that is different from that of green onions. It is called "wakaegi," meaning "a leek whose root is divided into many plants. The Seto Inland Sea coast has a mild climate suitable for growing wekegi, and Onomichi in particular boasts the nation's largest production (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries "Survey of Regional Specialty Vegetable Production in Fiscal Year 2008"). The wakamegi grown in this region is characterized by its sweet flavor and gentle aroma. In the Taisho and early Showa periods, the area was already a production center, and in the 1960s, it became possible to harvest all year round. Then, with the spread of plastic greenhouse cultivation, it became possible to harvest stably even in the coldest season, and production volume increased greatly. The largest amount of harvest is available in the market from December to March. Especially from the end of February to the beginning of March is the peak season, and during this period, wekegi is sweeter and has more umami flavor. Nuta" is made by mixing boiled wekegi with white miso (soybean paste), sugar, vinegar, and mirin (sweet cooking sake). It contains minerals such as calcium and iron, vitamins A, B2, and C, and allyl sulfide, which is found in onions, other green onions, chives, and garlic, and which helps to stimulate the appetite.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Kansai cabbage can be eaten throughout the year, but its season is from the end of February to the beginning of March. In the Kansai region, it is often eaten during the Girls' Festival (Peach Festival) as a good-luck talisman to bring prosperity to offspring.
- How to eat
Cut the wakegi into 3 cm pieces, boil, and mix with white miso, sugar, vinegar, and mirin (sweet cooking sake). Depending on the household, octopus, scallions, deep-fried tofu, fish paste, etc. may also be added. Besides nuta, wakegi is also used in gyoza, stir-fries, salads, egg rolls, and other dishes.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
JA Onomichi City holds "Wakegi Juku," a workshop for new growers, and provides support for new growers. In cooperation with the National Agricultural Cooperative Association, JA Onomichi City is also actively engaged in the sale of processed products such as " Wakegi Gyoza" and proposing ways to eat them by creating recipes, planning events to invite consumers in Kansai, the largest consumer market, to Onomichi City to interact with producers, and proposing menus incorporating "Wakegi" to local lodging facilities and food processing manufacturers. The company is actively involved in such activities.