The month of May brings along with it a fresh crop of delicious vegetables that can accompany a wide variety of healthy and flavorful Japanese dishes. Two vegetables in particular that you can find and cook with in season are young potatoes and celery.
Consider these tips when shopping for and cooking with young potatoes and celery in season so that you can produce some delicious Japanese dishes. We’ve also included some suggested recipes for you to try!
Tips for Choosing the Best Potatoes in Season
Obviously, there is never any shortage of potatoes in the supermarket. But young potatoes (also called new potatoes) are harvested in early spring. The most commonly found young potatoes are yellow, and the skin will be much thinner than on ordinary potatoes. When seeking young potatoes, look for ones that have smooth skin and no wrinkles or buds.
You probably already know that potatoes contain a lot of potassium. They also have vitamins and minerals and offer other healthy benefits that include improving bone health and fighting cancer and diabetes.
Of course, when you think of potatoes, Japanese food probably isn’t the first type of cuisine that comes to mind. But potatoes are actually used in many different Japanese recipes, including one called nikujaga.
This is the Japanese version of a hearty meat and potatoes dish. It also features other vegetables that you would normally find in an American beef stew or casserole, such as onions and carrots. The Japanese flavors come from the soy sauce and sake in which the food simmers.
Tips for choosing the best celery in season
Celery is another vegetable that you can easily find in the supermarket at any time of year. But when it is in season, it is fresher, greener and crisper. Select celery with vibrant green leaves and stalks that are firm, bunched tightly together and curved inwards, not flat.
To prepare celery, separate the ribs, or stalks, that you need from the main bunch, and wash them thoroughly. Trim the stalks at both ends, and if they are a bit fibrous, you can use a vegetable peeler to easily remove the threads. You can use the leaves as a garnish in salads, or add them to soups and stews for extra flavor.
Believe it or not, celery is a member of the parsley family. Comprised of 95 percent water, this low-calorie snack option also makes a great addition to many dishes. With high levels of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants, celery helps to lower blood pressure and improve the immune system.
Curry Vinegar Pickles
In Japan, celery is often made into curry celery pickles, also called tsukemono. These are very easy to make and also quite healthy. Requiring only a few simple ingredients that can easily be found in Asian supermarkets or the international aisle at regular supermarkets, you can prepare your curry celery pickles in about 15 minutes. They will be ready to enjoy in 3 days! Check out the recipe now!