Published on June 19, 2020
Starting late May and into mid June, sometimes it pours, sometimes it spits, sometimes somewhere in the middle, but what can be said for sure is that it is relentless, with intermitting bursts of extreme sun...
... and nature thrives. Glistening flowers and plants busting with life is the most pleasurable sight. One national favourite is the Hydrangea, famous for changing colour depending on the acidity of the soil.
However, the humid veil cast over the country combined with fluctuating temperatures can cause us to experience lethargy, water retention, slow digestion, and other uncomfortable symptoms for us humans.
Many health promoting seasonal foods also reach the peak of their tastiness. Intestine warming edibles like black pepper, Japanese pepper 山椒, red pepper, spring onions, Shiso leaves also help reduce fluid retention.
Natural diuretics like beans, corn, watermelon and seaweed help stomach functionality.
Ginger, onion, and aromatic vegetables like cilantro, shiso leaves, and spring onions helps one to heat, releasing fluid and heat.
Every Japanese delicacy will be served differently each season, with seasonal toppings. For example, the Japanese staple Tofu 豆腐 could come with sprinkles of Myoga 茗荷, Japanese ginger, and Shiso leaves around this season and into summer.
One of the best places for excellent UK grown Shiso plants is Wasabi Company in Bath. Relatively easy to grow, many people grow them in Japan, in their gardens, balcony, or on a sunny windowsill. Shiso are an excellent accompaniment to many dishes including sashimi, natto (fermented soy beans), cod roe spaghetti, and are great mixed in salads.
An example of a Japanese Wagashi sweet enjoyed in summer is the Fumanju 麩饅頭, red bean paste wrapped in a gluten cake that is similar in texture to mochi but less stretchy. Typically wrapped in a bamboo leaf, sasanoha 笹の葉 that has a beautiful aroma.
The above version has wormwood mixed into the cake, making it a light green colour. Wordwood is another seasonal plant of March to May. It can be found growing wild in some areas and the task of foraging and make into a paste by hand can be quite rewarding. Wormwood is rich in enzymes, chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, and fibre; nutrients that help digestion, constipation, and detoxification.
Can you guess what flowers the above sweets depict?
The one in the back is a hydrangea and the pink is a camellia. Camellias are slowly ending their flourishing days but can still be seen braving the rain in red, pink and yellow forms.
Some of our favourite Wagami creators we follow on Instagram;
wagashi_art Her breathtaking creations with beautiful photography is a joy to scroll through, and her captions mostly include English.
Sakura_junction Based in UK, she even has wagashi making workshops!
hale_works We particularly enjoy their mesmerising clips showcasing their crafstmanship
The best seasonal fish and vegetables that can be sourced in UK are served with garnish that reflect the time of year, and paired with Japanese Sake that is specially selected for your dinner, and served in special vessels to complete your Japanese experience. These trying times are proving to be a challenge to source our usual top grade ingredients but we will continue to strive to deliver the best possible experience.