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    Mystery Fruit – The Akebi Part 1

    By thomas | September 29, 2007

    A package containing two akebiOne of the great things about living in or visiting a foreign country is that you get to try all sorts of foods that you’ve never tasted before. Sometimes a new flavor will become one of your favorites (miso soup!). Other times you’d rather avoid tasting the new food again if you can help it (katsuo-bushi for me). I’ve been here for awhile and I still discover new things at the grocery store. There are so many opportunities for new experiences here in Japan.

    I have a sweet tooth, so new fruit is among my favorite things to try. The baby-orange biwa and the onion-shaped maroon ichijiku are two of my favorite discoveries (they’ll get write-ups soon enough, don’t worry). As long as they are not unreasonably expensive, I will usually grab new fruits up the moment I see them. That’s just what I did when I saw this fellow at the store the other day: the akebi.

    Akebi - a Japanese Fall fruitThe akebi (あけび) is the purple fruit of a wild akebia vine that grows on Honshu and Kyushu. It feels soft to the touch. It’s shape is roughly that of what you’d get if you tried to smush an apple into a banana-shape but gave up about halfway. The part you want to eat is the sweet whitish inside, although I’ve read that the purple skin and black seeds are also edible. For many Japanese, the appearance of the akebi fruit is a symbol that Autumn has finally arrived.

    I haven’t actually eaten it yet, so I have no idea what it tastes like. When I got my akebi home, I looked it up on the internet to see how to eat it. Apparently, when you buy it in the store it isn’t all the way ripe yet. You’ll know when your akebi is ready to eat though, as it is supposed to pop open like a little Pac-Man mouth. Mine hasn’t popped open yet. I bought it last week, so I’m chomping at the bit. I hope I can chomp into my akebi soon!

    Akebi Part 2

    As a final note, I’d like the welcome all the new visitors who found their way here through What Japan Thinks, JapanProbe, the JetJapan LiveJournal Community, All Japanese All The Time, and anywhere else. I hope you’ll come and visit again soon. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RSS feed or read from your mobile phone.

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    Topics: Fall | 9 Comments »Trackback

    9 Responses to “Mystery Fruit – The Akebi Part 1”

    1. Jethro Says:
      September 29th, 2007 at 9:05 pm

      Hey, I just traipsed on over here from the JetJapan LJ community, and wow, some of these ideas are really great! I’m applying to JET to participate next year, but it’s neat to look at these ahead of time. : )

      ~ Jethro.

    2. thomas Says:
      October 2nd, 2007 at 9:01 am

      Jethro: Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your JET application. Hopefully by next year I’ll have a whole lot of content for you to sift/search through. Thanks for the encouragement!

    3. Mystery Fruit - The Akebi Part 2 | nihonhacks.com Says:
      October 17th, 2007 at 4:14 pm

      […] Mystery Fruit – The Akebi Part 1 […]

    4. Put Your Veggie Scraps To Good Use: Compost | nihonhacks.com Says:
      April 15th, 2008 at 10:37 am

      […] a great way to use all your old akebi peels, hassaku pith and old rice. Thanks kk! Like this post? Give me the Thumbs Up! Share: Stumble […]

    5. Fruitarian Says:
      September 10th, 2008 at 2:03 am

      Thanks for the akebi info. I have tried the seeds and the peel, but they’re really sour. The white flesh around the seeds is delicious and has a great texture but is a bit of a pain to eat because you kinda have to suck it through your teeth and there isn’t a lot of it. Fun, though: between eating watermelon and sunflower seeds.
      By the way, why don’t you call “biwa” (loquat) and “ichijiku” (fig) by their English names? They aren’t all that exotic…

    6. Mike Says:
      September 17th, 2008 at 1:32 am

      Just moved to Fukuoka ken a month an a half ago for my placement in JET. Loving it here and finding these articles quite helpful. Keep it up!

    7. Mystery Fruit: Akebi / 通草 « Nani hitotsu kangaete inai Says:
      October 6th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

      […] the skin and seeds are edible, one is supposed to wait for the fruit to split open in what has been described as “Pac Man style” to eat the then-ripened gooey interior.  It’s supposed to […]

    8. Chua Says:
      September 11th, 2009 at 5:58 am

      Just bought very ripe akebi at 2 for 80 yen at a nearby grocers’ and was wondering how to eat… interesting article.. can’t wait to try >:D

    9. matt Says:
      September 26th, 2009 at 9:38 am

      i just came across the akebi myself, will have to try it. the biwa and ichijiku are not unique to japan, biwa=loquat and ichijiku are figs.

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