The limited time super food "Sansai”, or edible wild plant, which is said to have detoxification effects
Popular seasonal ingredients
Spring is a season of sansai, or the edible wild plant, entering a mountain area and collecting the blessings of nature is a seasonal pleasure.
It has a strong scum and bitterness though, that bitterness is said to eliminate the toxic substances from our body which is stored during winter.
Learning from the history of "Shojin Ryori”, or vegeterian diet, or Buddhist cuisine
Since Shooting and fishing is forbidden by religious precepts of Buddhism, vegetables, beans, and cereals are devised to cook by the Buddhist monks.
They set the dishes which the texture and flavor is like meat only using vegetable things and various seasonal ingredients which are presented beautifully on “Zen”, or a low dining table.
This is "Shojin Ryori” which had been introduced from China. The cooking method and the wisdom to remove the harsh taste which sansai and wild grass hold are said to have developed from it.
It is said "only several indigenous people and the Japanese in the world eat bracken" seem to be related to this history deeply.
Feeling the arrival of the season
There are approximately 350 kinds of the edible wild plant and wild grass in Japan. The spring sansai put out buds when the snow does not melt yet. You can enjoy it from early spring to early summer.
Plenty of recipes for each kind are found, including boiled and soaked in dashi sauce, pickled in vinegar, and tempura.
Do you wonder why does the Japanese eat the bittersweet things which takes time for preparing of our own accord?
It is because we would like to realize the coming of long whished-for spring after the killer winter. “Oh, spring is just round the corner!!”
We want to feel the change of the time of year by savoring seasonal ingredients.
This food habit shows that we value the four seasons in Japan.
It is nice to take a walk for picking Sansai, wild grass or mushrooms up with getting some fresh air in the countryside. Your heart and body will be buoyant in the spring sunlight while looking for the time limited ingredients!
photo and report by Yuki
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