Japanese Micro Seasons Part 1
As the air turns cooler in the evening and in the mornings I can feel a shift in the seasons. The trees are starting to turn and the fields are golden. It’s getting towards the end of summer and the start of Autumn. In Japan they call this a micro season and there are actually 24 seasonal divisions in the calendar that break down further to 72. Autumn breaks down into six changing every few weeks. We are nearing the end of Risshu which is the first of the autumn micro seasons which is broken down into 3 . August 8-12 Suzukaze Itaru (cool winds blow ) August 13-17 Higurashi naku ( evening cicadas sing) and August 18-22 Kiri mato ( thick fog descends ).
We then move on to the next Shosho (which is manageable heat) August 23-27 Wata no hana shibe hiraku ( cotton flowers bloom )
August 28th-September 1st Tenchi hajimete samushi ( heat starts to die down ) September 2-7 Kokumono sunawachi minoru ( rice ripens)
I think we can see our own micro seasons no matter if we live in Japan or not. Today a cool wind is blowing and I am starting to think about the new vegetables that will be coming into season soon. For now I am using late summer ingredients to make a soup curry with kuruma fu and lovely brown rice. Kuruma means wheel in Japanese. I also made dango. This is one you could think about making later in September for the moon viewing festival Otsukimi ( search for this for more information )
Why not start to think about your own seasons where you live. Notice the changes in nature. I think when we feel more connected to the earth we can start to use this in our cooking. Making everything more mindful from the choosing of ingredients to the preparation down to the eating of a meal.
This is the reason I like to make Japanese vegan food. It helps me feel more connected to a country I love deeply.
I used S&B curry spice with water and thickened the soup with kuzu. The kuruma fu were first soaked in a mix of water mirin and tamari then after squeezing out the liquid I dipped them in okara you could also use potato starch. Then I shallow fried them to make them lovely and crispy on the outside. The kind of remind me of an English Yorkshire pudding in texture and flavour. The vegetables I used were some lovely zucchini and potatoes a work colleagues mother had grown on her allotment some summer kabocha which is lighter in flavour and some lovely crisp biodynamic salad leaves that were locally grown. I had got some organic ridge cucumber in my vegetable box delivery this week so I pickled them in ume vinegar.
I will be doing more posts on the next micro seasons so please subscribe so you do not miss them.