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- Main lore areas
The whole prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Edible chrysanthemum, vinegar, soy sauce
- History/origin/related events
In Yamagata Prefecture, where edible chrysanthemums (except for small ones used as a garnish for sashimi, etc.) are widely produced, there are many local dishes using them. The custom of eating chrysanthemum petals became popular during the Edo period (1603 - 1868), and it is said that the famous poet Matsuo Basho loved this food. In Yamagata Prefecture, the culture of eating this flower is still strong, and “Ohitashi of edible chrysanthemums” (boiled and eaten with soy sauce) is a typical example. Among the edible chrysanthemums grown in Yamagata Prefecture, the purple-colored "Mottenohoka", which is a late variety, is the most fragrant and delicious of all. “Mottenohoka” means “outrageous” or “out of the question” in Japanese. Its official name is "Enmeiraku", but it is said to be called that because "eating it is out of the question as chrysanthemum is the crest of the emperor's family” or "just too delicious". The deliciousness of "Mottenohoka" lies in its unique crunchy texture. This is largely due to the shape of the individual petals of the chrysanthemum, which are tubular rather than sheet-shaped. Various varieties of edible chrysanthemums are cultivated in Yamagata Prefecture, and they are eaten as “ohitashi” (boiled), “sunomono” (pickled), or as tempura.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
The season is from fall to the beginning of winter, but nowadays, with the development of new and improved varieties, chrysanthemums can be harvested from May to January. Yellow chrysanthemums of the "Kotobuki" variety are harvested on Chou-you-no-Sekku (Chrysanthemum Festival), which falls on September 9.
- How to eat
Only the petals are eaten. Wash the kiku, scatter the petals from the gaku, and boil it in boiling water with a little vinegar. The flowers will turn a beautiful color because they contain anthocyanins. After boiling, drain in cold water and eat with soy sauce or soy sauce with dashi (soup stock). Many people in the prefecture love its unique crunchy texture and bittersweet flavor.
The colorful edible giku is also mixed with spinach or eaten with seasoned nameko mushrooms or wild vegetables and grated radish. Kiku is a good match for walnuts, which are served on top of the kiku or in a "walnut salad" to give it a rich and delicious flavor.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In the prefecture, even non-farmers are often seen planting edible chrysanthemums in the corner of their property or in their compound fields.
In the produce sections of supermarkets and direct sales stores, only the flowering parts are picked and sold in plastic bags or boxes alongside vegetables. In some areas, they are also offered as a school lunch menu item.