By thomas | October 17, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the akebi fruit. The akebi is an oval-shaped, purple fruit that grows on a wild vine here in Japan. I had never seen or eaten one before, so I was excited to try it. After patiently waiting for my akebis to ripen, I finally had the opportunity to try it earlier this month. It was quite an interesting experience! (As a side note, about half of the search engine traffic this site receives is from google searches for “akebi fruit”. Who would’ve thought?)
The akebi fruit has a visible seam running from top to bottom on the skin. I read on the internet that the akebi is supposed to pop open at the seam when it is ready to eat. My akebis didn’t pop open. I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t pop, but it’s possible that leaving them in the plastic package had something to do with it. Anyway, after some days I picked the fruit up and they felt soft and mushy to the touch, so I ventured to cut them open myself.
The inside of the akebi is a translucent white sac. The texture reminded me a bit of jello or konnyaku. Inside the white part are dozens of black seeds, similar to watermelon seeds but slightly smaller and softer. You can eat the seeds. The white part is sweet, but not especially fruity.
It wasn’t obvious how to eat the akebi at first. My wife tried to avoid eating the seeds by separating them from the flesh, but had a bit of trouble with it. There were just too many seeds buried in the sticky flesh. I just slurped the seeds down with the fruit and had an easier time with it. Don’t worry about chewing on the seeds. They are small enough to just swallow.
The skin is much too bitter to eat raw, but you can use them in recipes. One way to use the skin is to cut it into bite-sized pieces and fry them in oil for akebi tempura. Here’s another recipe to try. I found it here:
- Wash akebi skin well. Scoop out the insides if there are any left.
- Make a mixture of 1 teaspoon (小さじ [こさじ]) oil, 1 tablespoon (大さじ [おおさじ]) miso and a little sugar. Pour the mixture into the bowl-shaped akebi skins.
- Heat 5 tablespoons (大さじ [おおさじ]) cooking oil in a frying pan. Add akebi skins, cover and cook over low heat until the skins become soft.
- Optionally, for a heartier meal, before cooking you can stuff the skins with a finely chopped mixture of kinoko mushrooms, shiso leaves, fried tofu and ground/minced meat. Go easy on the shiso leaves though, as they have a very strong flavor.
Enjoy! Have you ever eaten akebi? I’d like to hear about your impressions. Leave me a comment! Like this post? Give me the Thumbs Up!
Share: Stumble This | Zoom This | JapanSoc This
Topics: Fall | 19 Comments »Trackback