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The Koshiabura is a compact and elongated bud that is young and glossy yellow-green in color. It offers sophisticated and complex tastes that have the aromatic Koshiabura flavors as well as an element of bitterness. Larger Koshiabura tend to have more bitterness in taste and their leaves are looser.
Koshiabura are available in the spring and early summer months.
The Koshiabura also known as Gonzetsu is the young bud of the Acanthopanax sciadophylloides which is a perennial woody deciduous tree that can grow up to sixty six feet tall. Scientifically known as Kalopanax sciadophylloides or Chengiopanax sciadophylloides, it is a member of the Araliaceae or Ginseng family.
Koshiabura are not only known as Sansai, but also as a medicinal plant. They contain kaempferol, quercetin glycosides and the flavonoid isoquercitrin which can help lower high blood pressure. In addition, they contain a lot of polyphenols that work as an antioxidant and have been shown to help prevent certain cancers. Young Koshiabura are rich in protein and fat.
Koshiabura are often used in tempura, a preparation which enhances their true Koshiabura flavor. They can be boiled and dressed with Ponzu or with a sesame miso paste known as Goma miso in Japan. Furthermore they can be a great addition to Karaage, egg dishes, Takikomi gohan, Ohitashi, pastas and Nimono. Plants from the Araliaceae family tend to produce a scum that creates a bitter taste; to cut this flavor, soak them in water with a splash of vinegar for thirty minutes prior to using. Koshiabura have a short shelf life. The distinct aroma of Koshiabura is an important part of enjoying them, therefore it is best to eat them as soon as they are harvested. If you need to store them, put them in a plastic bag or wrap them in a newspaper and use within a few days. For long term storing, they can also be salt-preserved or parboiled and frozen for future use.
People in Japan call Koshiabura the queen of Sansai. The Koshiabura received its namesake from when people use to get resin from the Acanthopanax sciadophylloides tree, which was used as a rust preventative oil on metals. When the Koshiabura is the size of a calligraphy brush, it is considered as the top-of-the-line that is called "Fude ha" which means a leaf of brush in Japanese. Koshiabura are not a common Sansai, thus they cannot be found at a local grocery store in Japan.
Koshiabura grow wild in East Asia and all over Japan except in Okinawa. They prefer a wooded area with a decent amount of sunlight. Koshiabura can be found easily in Japan, the height of the trees they grow on though is high and they have soft branches that can break easily, as a result much caution must be taken when climbing up trees to collect them. They can be found in high-mountain areas where the temperature is low which allows Koshiabura to be available even during the early summer months.
Recipes that include Koshiabura. One is easiest, three is harder.
|NHK World Japan||Tempura with Spring Shoots|
|Bento||Green Beans in Sesame Dressing|
|No Recipes||Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)|
|Ozeki Cooking School||Tempura of Sansai with Hand-Picked Wild Vegetables|