Japanese people love seasonal ingredients that are eaten by every four seasons.
“Warabi” is one of the most popular wild vegetabiles that represent ”spring”.
Today here I introduce Warabi to you.
What is Warabi?
Warabi (わらび, 蕨, bracken, or scientific name “Pteridium aquilinum”) is a kind of fern, and is one of the most popular wild vegetables in Japan.
It is clustered in sunny places such as grassland, valley, wilderness.
Its young buds are cooked as wild plants, and “bracken powder”, starch that can be taken from the roots, are also used to make “Warabimochi”, or bracken-starch dumpling.
However, it is toxic and can not be eaten raw.
Warabi is a relatively familiar wild vegetable, and you can collect plenty in village-vicinity mountain.
The amount of Warabi production is the most common in northern part of Japan (Tohoku region).
Because it can be found nationwide, the season is different depending on the region.
In Kyushu, it can be found from the middle of March. In mainland Japan, we will have the season around mid-April to May. In Tohoku region, it can be found until late June.
How to eat Warabi?
As a cooking method, it needs piercing by boiling with water containing wood ash or sodium bicarbonate, or detoxifying by salting.
It is common to eat as boiled greens in bonito-flavored say sauce. In addition, it is often used as cooked with rice, tempura and salad.
What is “Warabimochi”?
Warabimochi (わらびもち, or bracken-starch dumpling) is a kind of traditional Japanese sweets made from starch, water and sugar.
Because it is sold at convenience stores widely in Japan, you may find it easily.
Warabimochi got its name because the starch rice powder obtained from the rhizome of the bracken was used as a raw material. However, since the amount of warabi flour production is very small, now most of the current selling Warabimochi is produced by flour powder instead of warabi flour. Therefore, Warabimochi made with Warabi flour is rare luxury ones.
Where to eat Warabi?
Warabi is often offered at hot spring inns located along the mountainside in Tohoku region during the spring season.
Warabi is also offered at relatively high class Japanese restaurant.
Warabimochi is sold at convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the country, and is easily found, but this Warabimochi often does not use warabi.