Japanese silverleaf, called TSUWA in Japanese, is one of nature’s bounty found on Ojika Island. Islanders know it’s spring when they spot TSUWA growing by the road.
They then go for a stroll, with a basket on their back, picking TSUWA as they go.
The silverleaf can be found by rice paddies and fields as well as along the roads. Local gather it in early spring when the young stalks are still covered in “baby hair”.
The gathering is just a small part of the whole process, though.
First, you need to peel off the skin and to prevent hands from turning black, you must rinse TSUWA in vinegar or boiling water
The skin will peel off easier if you bend the stalk.
Then you soak it…
Then you boil it…
Finally, it’s ready to be cooked!
There are various ways to cook TSUWA. In the picture below it was simmered with some vegetables and tofu. Other preparation methods include frying and boiling. It has a very distinct flavor that locals associate with spring.
While eating with the season is the culture of Japan, Ojika takes it to the next level, preparing seasonal dishes from scratch.