Hyuganatsu Mican (citrus tamurana) 日向夏柑橘
The farmer’s markets here in Okinawa are nothing short of extraordinary. Never before, in all my travels; have I seen such a volume of fresh markets spread over such a small area.
You can easily shop at four or five in one day. Although, why you would, when every one seems to have everything you can imagine (and more) is a mystery to me.
Most are independently owned. Generations of family members can be seen working shoulder-to-shoulder. Years of hard work, business skills and dedication are apparent from the well-ordered rows of fresh produce that are available seven-days-a-week.
Keeping up with the variety of the fresh (and mostly foreign) produce is definitely a challenge! Luckily, I have a lot of help. My local friends have kept me abreast of what is in season, and the Japanese names of all of these new (to me) gems.
So far, one of my favorites to eat and cook with has been the HYUGANATSU MICAN (citrus tamurana) 日向夏柑橘 . A delicious, juicy citrus fruit that has an intense lemon-like scent and a tart but sweet lemon/orange taste.
According to Wikipedia, Japan, The “Hyuganatsu Mican”, or “Huganatsu Orange” (citrus tamurana) 日向夏柑橘, is a relatively new fruit, and is said to be a mutation of the yuzu citrus fruit that haphazardly appeared in the Miyazaki garden of Yasutaro Magata in 1820. It was later grafted onto a tree and cultivated by, amateur horticulturist Chibei Takazuma who came upon the fruit as he was doing carpentry work on Yasutaro Magata’s home. It is said that by 1887, the Hyuganatsu Mican was used commonly in the area.
It is now known to only be grown in Southern Japan and the Ryukyu Islands (which include Okinawa). In fact, many mainland Japanese have never tasted it. It is and remains a truly southern delight.
Experiencing the delightful citrus taste and unmatched ‘juiciness’ truly a dream come true for a citrus lover like myself. The white pith is not bitter at all.
Every recipe that calls for lemons or oranges is made better with the use of this fruit; although my family and I have blitzed through pack after pack of these, eaten right out of the rind.
Smells like a lemon….sweet like an orange. Only a lemony orange. Round like an orange…..bright yellow like a lemon.
Shannon Vavich is a baby-wearing, homeschooling, mama of seven who is also a chef, a photographer and a freelance food writer. She follows her husband and his military career all over the world, and currently lives in Okinawa, Japan. She has a little dog named Paprika, and an Okinawan cat named Mochi. She wears red lipstick, loves rocky road ice cream and is learning how to care for orchids. She is currently writing a book on Okinawan and Japanese cuisine and cooking. More
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