Nukazuke Report: Nanohana Nukazuke

Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け
Homemade nukazuke is turning out to be one of my all time favorite foodie discoveries! I cannot stop! I have been pickling springtime vegetables like kokabura (baby turnip), uri and nanohana (rape blossom) in my nuka pot the last few weeks and having great fun.

Here is another in our Nukazuka Report series.

In case you have not seen any of our previous nukazuke articles, nukadoko is a pickling bed made of rice bran and salt that is allowed to ferment and is used to pickle all sorts of seasonal vegetables in Japan. Nukazuke has a lot of vitamins and nutritional value provided by the rice bran.

Traditionally every household in Japan had a nuka pot or barrel. Nukazuke does not taste particularly exotic or ‘Japanese’. If you like fresh vegetables and you like fermented food, you would probably enjoy nukazuke.

Once fermenting, the nukadoko (pickling bed) is a combination of two distinct smells; a pungent, fruity fragrance reminiscent of yogurt and a big, earthy smell similar to pipe tobacco. Before fermenting, it just smells like you might expect rice bran to smell. However, once fermented it is transformed!

Vegetables can be lightly fermented in a day or so, or heavily fermented in 5 to 7 days. Higher air temperature increases the pace of fermentation.

Springtime Nanohana
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け
Green, fresh and pleasantly bitter!

Nanohana
Nanohana is the blossom of the rape plant. Nanohana is a very popular vegetable in Kyoto and is in season from late winter to late spring. To me, it signals the coming end of winter. Nanohana can simply be steamed, be added to soups and stews, can be deep-fried for tempura and of course be pickled. Nanohana is often pickled in salt, miso and of course nuka.

Nanohana is rather bitter and this combined with the pungent ferment punch of nuka is quite unlike any other taste I have encountered. I found that I like nanohana pickled in nuka for about 5 days, on average, that is probably a bit long. It gets very sour and pungent but the bitterness of the nanohana is retained. Fermented this long, the ‘fresh veggie-ness’ of the nanohana is gone though.

Springtime Nanohana
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Covering Nanohana in Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Covering Nanohana in Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Covering Nanohana in Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Covering Nanohana in Nuka – Finished
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Several Days Later

Turning the Nanohana and Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Several Days Later – Done

Removing Nanohana from Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Nanohana Nukazuke – Ready to Wash
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Nanohana Nukazuke – Washing Off the Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Rescued Nuka
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け
This is how much nuka could go to waste. I strained the rinse water through a cloth to capture the nuka. Nanohana being very leafy, a lot of nuka gets stuck to the greens that cannot simply be brushed off by hand. By contrast, the nuka on cucumbers, carrots and so on can easily be wiped back into the nuka pot when removing them.

Three Kinds of Tsukemono and Rice
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け

Three Kinds of Tsukemono – Nanohana and Uri
Nanohana (Rape Blossom) Nukazuke 菜の花ぬか漬け
The uri on the right, the brighter green three slices are asazuke, lightly pickled with salt.

6 Responses to “Nukazuke Report: Nanohana Nukazuke”

  1. Dan says:

    Lol kind’a look like pickeled brocoli XP

  2. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Dan, Welcome to KyotoFoodie. Yes, in the photos it does look similar to broccoli. But up close, it doesn’t.

  3. Till today I had no idea that rape blossoms were eatable…

    That fermenting procedure sounds like something I’d like to try. I just wonder whether there is a chance to find the necessary pot and ingredients here (Berlin) and if so, at what cost…

  4. Peko Peko says:

    Hello multikulinaria,

    Yes, they are both tasty and healthy!

    Fermentation is not difficult. See details in our other articles. (http://kyotofoodie.com/tag/nukazuke/) Apparently, other kinds of bran can be used. We started out with just an enameled cooking pot, like you would boil pasta in. A ceramic, glass or plastic container is fine. Traditionally many households in Japan used a wooden container. With wood, excess water can run out. Give it a try!

  5. SMMama says:

    Ooo thank you for the muslin tip to catch the nuka – I have been picking the flowering heads of bokchoy, brussel sprouts, broccolini, tatsoi – any brassicas we have in the garden, and was losing a lot of bran.

  6. Peko Peko says:

    Hello SMMama, Yes, on flowery and grassy stuff, you lose a lot of nukudoko.

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