ALL ABOUT JAPAN’S STRAWBERRIES
February is the coldest month in Japan. It’s also the time to harvest delicious strawberries, in addition to chocolate giving on Valentine’s Day. Everyone loves strawberries and this power fruit can be served in various ways, including desserts, shakes, and parfaits. And best of all, it’s loaded with Vitamin C.
Japan has the best strawberries in the world-known for their beautiful shape and juicy varieties! Currently, there are six varieties being developed in Tochigi Prefecture, the strawberry kingdom of Japan. Tochigi is also the number one producer of high-quality strawberries in the country. In addition, learn more about these interesting varieties that come in different sizes and shapes.
Tochiotome とちおとめ The most popular strawberry variety commonly found in desserts and supermarkets. The sweet and sour taste of Tochiotome is due to the abundant winter sunlight in Tochigi Prefecture. The peak season is mainly from October to June.
Skyberry スカイべりDeveloped in 2014, this strawberry variety tastes juicy and sweet. Because of its huge and smooth texture, it is considered luxury strawberries and an ideal gift for all occasions. This variety is also preferred by pastry chefs as a topping for strawberry cakes.
Tochihime とちひめ A very rare variety that can only be found in strawberry farms for tourists. Tochihime has a soft red color from the top to the bottom of the fruit.
Natsuotome なつおとめ Harvested only in summer (June-October), this variety has a slightly sour taste, making it an ideal ingredient for gelato and other sweets. When you slice the fruit, you will see a red heart spot in the middle!
Milky Berry ミルキベリAnother interesting strawberry variety, Milky Berry, looks like a raw strawberry because of its absence of color. However, as the name implies, this variety is milky white with a creamy texture and sweet flavor.
Tochiaika とちあいか which was newly developed by the Strawberry Research Institute is a variety with an interesting heart-shaped design when cut in half.
POPULAR STRAWBERRY DESSERTS
Strawberry Soft Ice Cream
Popular at roadside stations and tourist attractions, this ice cream is a fun treat, especially during the summer season. Sometimes it is mixed with vanilla cream and topped with strawberry slices.
A popular Japanese wagashi made with mochi (rice cake) and stuffed with red bean paste (azuki) and strawberry. It goes great with green tea in the winter season.
A special occasion cake popular in Japan. It is usually a round sponge cake covered with whipped cream and sliced strawberries in the middle. Then it is topped with either whole strawberries or sliced ones and these cakes sometimes resemble the Japanese flag. During Christmas, this cake is usually preferred by customers and sometimes there is a shortage of strawberries.
Strawberry roll cake
A slice of roll cake topped with a generous amount of cream and strawberry slices is mainly served in cafes. Great for afternoon tea or coffee breaks.
STRAWBERRY PICKING ACTIVITIES
Did you know that you can enjoy eating strawberries directly from the farm? For urban people who want to experience authentic farm life, try doing strawberry picking! Strawberry farms in Tochigi Prefecture usually hold events for all tourists from January to May. You can pick and eat unlimited strawberries for 30 minutes with an admission fee of (1,500 yen) per person. Check out the video below to learn more about this experience.