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    Japanese Hassaku Fruit

    By thomas | February 10, 2008

    hassaku1.JPGOne of my favorite things to do in Japan is go to the grocery store and try all the random fruits that aren’t available back home. One such fruit, that I really enjoy, is called the hassaku (はっさく).

    The hassaku fruit looks like a big orange, or maybe a grapefruit. It is harvested in December, so a good time to look for it in the stores is during winter. They are on the lower end of the Japanese fruit price spectrum, averaging somewhere about 100 yen a pop.

    The hassaku has a much different flavor than an orange. The fruit is tart and sweet, almost sour. Biting into the hassaku fruit is a pleasure, because the juice “pops” into your mouth. The Japanese eat it like an orange, just peeling it and tearing sections off, but I find that the rind (or whatever you call that white stuff that sticks to the fruit after you take the skin off) is much too bitter for my tastes. It ruins the experience. I prefer to eat it like a grapefruit, cutting it in half and getting to the good parts with a spoon.

    Japanese Hassaku Fruit.  Eat it like a grapefruit

    Whichever way you eat it, I recommend giving it a try. I love Hassaku and have eaten about 10 of them since the New Year.

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    Topics: Winter | 14 Comments »Trackback

    14 Responses to “Japanese Hassaku Fruit”

    1. Charles Jannuzi Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 2:58 am

      Domestic citrus fruit, produced from mid-Honshu southward right on down to Okinawa, is a real bargain at the supermarket in Japan.

      Along with Hassaku I really enjoy Iyokan.

      And the loose-skinned ‘mikan’ are a great natural unprocessed snack.

    2. Mike Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 5:37 am

      mmmm I’ve never tried it, but seems pretty interesting. I’ll be in Japan from late April till mid-May so I’ll give it a try then!

    3. Kage Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

      I’ve never seen them before. Are they like really big ‘yuzu’?

      PS The ‘white bit’ is called the ‘pith’.

    4. thomas Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 10:58 pm

      @Charles Jannuzi: I’ll keep an eye out for Iyokan. When are they generally available in the store?

      @Mike: You won’t regret it!

      @Kage: They don’t taste anything like yuzu. Hassaku have their own distinct flavor. Try looking around at the grocery store for them. And thanks for the “pith”. :)

    5. Justin Says:
      February 10th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

      Looks oishi

    6. Alec Says:
      February 11th, 2008 at 3:13 pm

      Looks good. Must make an effort to try more random Japanese fruits and vegetables.

      I must’ve eaten 200 mikan since moving to Tokyo. So cheap and ‘once you pop you can’t stop’. I almost always end up eating a whole bag of like 12 mikans in one sitting (>_

    7. shiisa Says:
      March 3rd, 2008 at 2:22 pm

      I own the exact same knife as the one in this photo…

    8. Kim Says:
      April 16th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

      My host mother in Shimane used to candy the peels and once candied, the peels become pure deliciousness! I am ignorant on the ways of candying peels but I think it involves boiling the peels to get rid of the tartness… I’m sure there are instructions online… but because the peels are so thick, they make a substantial sweet snack as opposed to using the often-thin peels of oranges.

    9. eldritch Says:
      February 8th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

      It’s tasty and one drop in the eye more painful than orange juice ;)

    10. japanese words Says:
      March 2nd, 2009 at 7:15 am

      I like these, but still prefer mikans for their sweeter taste and ease of peeling.

    11. Finally some bottling action… and experimentation! « Homebrew Japan Says:
      April 9th, 2009 at 2:07 am

      […] the orange peel, I chose Japanese hassaku. Not only does this give the beer a Japanese theme, but the skin is aromatic and bitter. Supposedly […]

    12. Ookamikakushi – 01 « k1y0 ~suki yo~ Says:
      January 9th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      […] and Kaname give Hiroshi a tour of the town, during which we learn that the town is famous for hassaku fruits. Unfortunately, the harvest was bad this year, and the Hassaku festival where the residents offer […]

    13. Takashi Says:
      February 22nd, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      The eat the hassaku, Japanese people peel the membrane (what you call “rind”) off each section. Then, we eat the fruit. It is delicious this way. Please try it!

    14. Takashi Says:
      February 22nd, 2010 at 12:31 pm

      To eat hassaku, Japanese people peel the membrane (what you call “rind”) off each section. Then, we eat the fruit. It’s delicious this way! Please try it.