January 9, 2013: グルメFoodie

Kamiyamada Fuji Apple with 'Mitsu'






Nagano Prefecture is mecca for fuji apples. The prefecture is Japan's 2nd largest producer of apples, behind Aomori. But while Aomori's mainstay variety is the Tsugaru, Nagano's is the fuji. My home state, Washington, is also a big apple producer -- the largest in America actually. And at last count, 13% of the production was the same fuji variety, making it the 3rd most popular in the state.

Since coming to Kamiyamada and getting to know more about fuji apples and the local orchardists, I keep hearing about "mitsu", a condition where the center of the apple turns translucent. "Mitsu" also refers to 'honey', and fuji apples with mitsu tend to be sweeter. Or, at least that's what everyone here says. However, I've also heard that the clear center can also be considered a disease.

So which is it -- is 'mitsu' a sign of sweetness, or a disease?

A recent guest gave me a key clue. I'd always wondered what 'mitsu' is called in English, and she told me: "Watercore". So doing a search on watercore turned up a lot of research as to it being a defect found in apples and pears, resulting in a shorter shelf life. One article I found in my hometown newspaper, though, explains that in Japan, it is a desired condition due to apples with it being sweeter.

So there you have it -- come to Kamiyamada for some of the sweetest watercore fuji apples!

ワシントン州りんご連盟 Washington State Apple Commission

Watercoreについてのシアトルの新聞の記事 Watercore in the Seattle Times

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