夏至 Geshi (Summer solstice)
Summer solstice, the sun rises behind Mt Fuji and travels across the sky taking its longest path. This is the day with the most amount of daylight. Even though this marks the beginning of summer, now the days will slowly start to shorten . This time seams to occur between the planting and harvesting of crops.
June 21–26 乃東枯 Natsukarekusa karuru Self-heal withers
June 27–July 1 菖蒲華 Ayame hana saku Irises bloom
July 2–6 半夏生 Hange shōzu Crow-dipper sprouts
This is the time in Japan of hot humid rainy days, a time when people might not feel like preparing food so cooling food that’s easy to prepare would be eaten. Things like watery fruits and vegetables cucumber and tomato to be eaten simply with cold noodles and a chilled broth. You could try zaru soba, cold soba noodles with a chilled dipping sauce. The name zaru refers to the sieve or strainer the cold noodles sit on. Often served with condiments like grated daikon, chopped green onion and sesame.
You could also try making a cold soba salad with a simple dressing and lots of watery vegetables.
Another meal that is popular in Hiyashi Chuka or cold ramen you can find the recipe for this on my summer recipes or just search Hiyashi Chuka.
People in Japan also like watery fruits in the summer. Large peaches are in season, melon is also very popular and is the quintessential hydrating summer dessert. Maybe you could try my thirst quenching recipe for a melon drink on the summer recipes.
All across Japan at the moment the iris and the ajisai (hydrangea) are blooming. In the U.K. the hydrangea doesn’t bloom until later in the summer, but I did find some lovely iris on one of my evening walks and there were lots of small blue dragonflies darting around them.
The micro season calendar mentions the self heal or prunella a low growing creeping plant with clusters of violet coloured flowers. In Japan this plant blooms in the winter and withers in summer. Another plant mentioned is the crow dipper which is a thin green grass and they turn white in the summer.
At the end of June people in Japan like to eat a seasonal sweet called Minazuki. Made from kuzu starch and rice flour it is cut into a triangle shape and is said to resemble ice. It is topped with sweet red beans, the sweet is said to ward off evil and disease. You can find out more on my minazuki posts and also the recipe.