Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Strawberry

Kombucha 102

After a week of letting my first batch of Kombucha ferment, it was time to move to phase 2 fermentation. I was a little apprehensive and intimidated by the scoby growing in the jar. I looked up pictures online to verify my scoby was healthy and not moldy. From the imagines I found, I was satisfied my scoby was healthy.

The only thing preventing me from moving on to phase 2 was finding the courage to taste the kombucha. Oh, boy. I was expecting the worst. I summed all my courage and steeled my stomach for a straw size siphon. I was pleasantly surprised. The kombucha actually tasted palatable. It tasted like sweet tea mixed with a little vinegar. The longer the kombucha remains in phase 1 fermentation, the stronger the vinegar taste. I decided to go with a sweeter flavor for my first batch. I prepped my laboratory (kitchen) work space and began the canning process for phase 2 fermentation.

I used frozen strawberries to flavor the kombucha. I mixed the frozen strawberries with a little hot water and then puréed them in the food processor. I added about 2 tablespoons to each mason jar. I saved a mason jar of tea so I could prepare another batch of kombucha phase 1. Meanwhile, I’ll let my four jars of strawberry kombucha set for 2-4 days. After that time, they should be ready to strain, refrigerate, and enjoy.

My fingers are crossed they kombucha is delicious!

Strawberry Picking

After our visit at the Ashikaga Flower Park on Thursday, we made a brief stop at the Itigo No Sato Farm in Tochigi. Tochigi is north of Tokyo. Here we were able to pick and eat strawberries.


We were led to a greenhouse where our group would be allotted 30 minutes to pick and eat as many strawberries as you like. This was similar to the rules when we went grape picking last fall. Here was our group in the greenhouse.


As to be expected with the Japanese, the greenhouses and the strawberries growing were treated with meticulous care.


The plants were grown in dirt mounds covered in black plastic. The berries seemed to even have been washed before they were available to be picked.


I took a picture of another greenhouse on our way out. I need to do a little research on why, what appears to be onions, are planted at the end of each row.


After we consumed our berries, we had time to explore the shops. Although the treats were tempting, we just finished stuffing our faces on strawberries!


Of course, there is always time for a candid shot or two…

Yokohama Strawberry Festival 

The Yokohama Strawberry Festival is open daily from 11:00 – 18:00 from 2/3/17 – 2/12/17. Dina and I decided to check it out on a weekday hoping we would avoid most of the crowds. The Festival was being held in the area of the Red Brick Warehouse.

Upon arriving at the event, there was a perfectly placed strawberry for a photo opportunity.


Of course, we needed to pose for our picture wearing the cute strawberry hat props!


There was also a strawberry bouncy house for littles. Kawaii!


The Festival had ample strawberry treats. Along with several long lines.


There were also strawberry souvenirs. T-shirts, bracelets and helmet!?!


Some of the items were way over priced. 8 strawberries for ¥2000 ($20). Or the picture in the middle, 5 strawberries for ¥3000 ($30)!! The strawberry on the bottom left is ¥800 ($8)!! Wow!


Check out the spread this group of ladies purchased!


Dina and I started with strawberry wine.


And we purchased a few items to take home. So many delicious choices!

The bunnies looked so cute. I was tempted to buy one. Fortunately, the sales clerk spoke very good English and suggested we try the strawberry cake with the triangles. She said it was much better!

So, I picked out the one on the left as per her suggestion.

Cannoli or taco?


I might have over purchased for our desserts tonight.

Or maybe, we skip dinner and eat strawberry desserts!  Yummmmmm

Strawberry Season

Yes, that’s right. January through March is strawberry season in Japan. The strawberries are mostly grown in greenhouses, enabling a winter growing season. Fruit in Japan is often considered a dessert. Strawberries are no exception. They are beautifully packaged and can be very costly also making them a nice present.

These strawberries are for sale at YorkMart, the Japanese grocery store near our house. One of the packages pictured below is ¥753 including tax. With 11-15 strawberries in a container, that is a pretty steep price! However, for the fresh right off the vine taste, the price was worth it. The strawberries taste delicious and freshly picked!

This is the package I purchased from the YorkMart.

These Japanese strawberries were for sale at the Commissary on base.

The package I purchased at the Commissary for $4.99.

Fresh strawberries are not the only popular item during strawberry season. Looking around the grocery store, I found strawberries in a variety of items. From snacks, cookies, chocolates and nuts!

I also found strawberry chu-hai, strawberry pocky and chocolates with strawberry filling.

The best find was the delicious pancake with strawberry and cream filling.

As with other things, the Japanese didn’t invent the strawberry, they just found a way to make it a little bit better. They made it better by offering fresh vine ripened strawberries in the middle of winter when everyone is craving a little extra vitamin C.

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