Yuzu citrus fruit is not only used as an ingredient for food, but it is deeply rooted within the lives of the Japanese people, as seen in their tradition of taking yuzu baths at winter solstice. It is said that the Kito Yuzu traditionally grows wild in the Kito region of Naka, Tokushima Prefecture, famous for its yuzu production. Currently, selective breeding has progressed, and it is said that almost all yuzu grown throughout Japan are Kito Yuzu strains, and the fruit called Hon Yuzu is Kito-type yuzu.
In this article, we introduce the Two Types of Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel Set, manufactured by the OGON no mura Co., Ltd., which produces various Kito Yuzu processed products in the Kito region.
Let’s see why the Two Types of Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel Set by OGON no mura makes a wonderful gift.
Featuring Kito Yuzu, the origin of Japan’s Hon Yuzu fruits
As the saying goes, “Peaches and chestnuts seeds take three years to fruit, persimmons take eight, and the foolish yuzu fruit takes 18 years,” yuzu used to take 18 years to bear fruit. However, due to the efforts of the Kito Yuzu Research Association, improvements have been made, and it currently takes three to five years to fruit. Since then, the wonderful color, fragrance and strong acidity of the yuzu fruit have led to it being harvested across Japan.
The Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel features strong flavors of mackerel, miso, and olive oil, and the powerful fragrance of yuzu.
Specially grown yuzu is squeezed by hand within 24 hours of harvest
All of the processed products from OGON no mura use Kito Yuzu that has been specially harvested without any pesticides or chemical fertilizers during its growing period. The fruit is squeezed by hand within 24 hours of harvesting it to maintain its fresh fragrance and rich acidity. The canned product takes pride in its uncompromising quality, as seen in its mackerel as well, which uses only domestic fish.
Endless possibilities for menu customization
Canned mackerel is famous for allowing consumers to customize dishes to their taste, and adding yuzu flavors offers something new. Tasting the Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel Simmered in Miso and the Salty Olive Oil-packed Winter Mackerel and Kito Yuzu gives birth to many ideas, such as pasta, rice ball toppings or mashing the meat for bagna càuda, and even using the oil to eat with bread.
Unique and delicious regional dishes, known only to Kito citizens
“This Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel takes a hint from the traditional way of eating yuzu in the Kito region,” explains Koji Kamiyo of OGON no mura, touching on behind-the-scenes product development.
The Kito region traditionally has a unique dish created by hollowing yuzu fruit, stuffing it with canned mackerel and sprinkling generous amounts of yuzu juice before adding miso and broiling it. In order to recreate this dish, the mackerel in the Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel is browned for a subtle savory flavor.
“The Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel was developed as mackerel and yuzu simmered in miso, with hints from the unique Kito regional food culture. Currently, new products such as those packed in olive oil, simmered in water, or simmered with tomatoes have also been launched. We make sure to ‘communicate the appeal of the Kito Yuzu’ in all of our products, with the utmost care from growing to processing. For this reason, we use fatty and soft mackerel, which perfectly matches the slightly bitter, fragrant and refreshing acidity of yuzu. Ultimately, we found the winter mackerel caught at the Choshi Port of Chiba Prefecture during November and February to be the best match,” says Kamiyo.
Here is a recipe featuring the Salty Olive Oil-packed Winter Mackerel and Kito Yuzu, showcasing the appeal of the yuzu fruit.
Regional revitalization with Kito Yuzu
OGON no mura Co., Ltd., manufacturers of the Canned Kito Yuzu Winter Mackerel was founded by Yasushi Fujita, following the wishes of his late father to “make Kito a town of gold with yuzu fruit”.
The picturesque visuals, fragrance and powerful acidity of the Kito Yuzu are created from the favorable environment of the Kito region. The Kito area is a secluded hilly area with a lush natural environment, located at the south base of the second-highest mountain in West Japan, Mt. Tsurugi. Its altitude and cool climate conditions create the vibrant colors and strong fragrance of Kito Yuzu, and the large amount of rainfall received also reduces any damage to the fruit skin to create a smooth, glowing, beautiful fruit.
The Kito region offers an environment optimal for harvesting yuzu fruit, and in 2017, the region acquired the GI mark for the Geographical Indication Protection System from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, launching the region into fame as the prime yuzu production area in Japan. However, having an environment blessed for growing yuzu also has its setbacks. The secluded hilly topography of the area makes agricultural operations extremely inefficient. Moreover, the declining population of the Kito region is also a serious issue.
Within the limitations in production quantity, OGON no mura continued to develop various yuzu processed goods, in pursuit of adding value to the produce harvested in the region. The company currently manufactures and sells over 30 types of products. These activities have resulted in price stabilization of yuzu fruit and the revitalization of the Kito region as well.
Furthermore, from 2020, 100% Japan-produced yuzu harvesting and manufacturing is scheduled to start in France, with the cooperation of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. It is said that EU-produced yuzu has taken the market by storm in France, but Kamiyo says, “I believe that worldwide harvesting is our mission and we will make efforts toward it.”
“We make a miraculous village impressing people of the world with the beautiful earth and fragrance of Kito Yuzu.”—the day this founding sentiment and corporate philosophy of OGON no mura reaches throughout Japan and the world may not be far.
Writer : MAIKO KAWAMURA / Photographer : CHIE MARUYAMA
*Some of the images posted on our website have been provided by those whom we inter-viewed.
Judicial Persons Qualified to Own Farmland Corporation OGON no mura Co., Ltd.
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