Skip to main content

Thursday Snapshot: Soba Blooms

Soba in bloom. Hokkaido, Japan.

A soba (buckwheat) plant in full bloom. Taken during our trip to Hokkaido last year, we were on our way to visit friends in Nakatonbetsu when we paused near this field of blooming soba. I'm a big fan of this noodle, and was pleased to get a good look at the full plant, flowers, and the coming grains. The little black bits below the flower are the soba grains still in their hulls.

Why a Thursday snapshot?
Each year with the Blogathon I try something new. One year I tried a "What I'm Reading" weekly post and another year I tried a weekly calendar of farmers markets in Tokyo. The latter worked very well for me and my readers. The former proved somewhat cumbersome for me and therefore faded out. I'm still reading, just not summarizing.

This year I'm going to try for a Thursday Snapshot. I take A LOT of pictures. I learned in the first Blogathon to always carry my camera, and so now it has a permanent place in whatever bag I've got for the day or even a short trip to the grocery store. It's that important.

The result is a ton of photos that don't necessarily have a home, although photos do make excellent reminders of things I want to talk about here. Sometimes I just think something is interesting or I'm trying a new technique.

 What do you think?


Ruth said…
My daughter is very allergic to buckwheat, so I am glad to make its acquaintance. (I'm not sure how it happened that a child whose family comes from Eastern Europe could be so allergic to an essential grain.) Buckwheat is related to rhubarb, but I don't think that causes her problems...
What a bummer! When we lived in Kazakhstan that was one of our favorite grains to eat. It's hard to find as a whole grain here, although it is possible. The flour and the noodle are much more common. And just as delicious.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro