SWEET APPLE KUZU
Spring, summer, autumn or winter; you can make this delicious drink anytime. And it's the most simple and comforting delight you will ever taste! Thanks to kuzu, this drink is pleasantly warm, silky smooth, and mildly sweet, and at the same time, the ideal fit for your tummy.
Why? What is kuzu?
Kuzu, also known as kudzu (Latin name Pueraria Lobata), is a fibrous climbing plant with heart-shaped leaves with a strong life. Massive kuzu roots with a length of 1 - 2 metres and weighing between 90 and 180 kilos are among the world's largest.
Our kuzu starch comes from the wild kuzu plants growing in Japanese mountains. Farmers brought it to America in the 30', hoping the plant would control soil erosion and feed cattle. Kuzu grew fast, and it overgrew and became a major agricultural problem in the South in the 60' and 70'. Residents used to joke that returning from your holiday, you might find your house covered entirely under the kuzu vine plant.
Luckily, the special of this plant is that every part has a practical use: the roots for food and medicinal use in Oriental medicine, leaves for livestock feed, vines for cloth textiles, and flowers for ingredients in folk medicine.
However, the best-known product of the kuzu plant is its starch. Kuzu starch is used as a binding agent, especially in Japanese, vegan and macrobiotic cuisine and is particularly effective for thickening soups, juices, pastries, desserts, sauces and stews.
Our kuzu starch, made from wild kuzu roots, is a far superior quality cooking starch than ordinary cornstarch, potato, wheat, or sweet potato starch.
Kuzu daily * is the unwashed, unfiltered variant of kuzu premium *.
Kuzu premium * is more powerful in terms of binding and strengthening and is more neutral in flavour.
Harvesting kuzu is time and energy-consuming, and many kuzu-finding sites are kept secret. Digging out the roots takes place between December and April and is done by hand with a shovel. This job has to be done carefully and requires a lot of manpower. As many as 300 diggers, also known as "horiko", are employed.
Japanese love nature and therefore follow nature's rules. Thus, the law is that "horiko" only dig up roots at least 20 years old, while younger roots are kept for years to come.
And then magic happens!
After harvesting, kuzu roots are rinsed, which our producer, the Hirohachido family company, has traditionally been doing for over 150 years. With great insight and generational expertise, they combine ancient Japanese techniques with natural processes. Much is done manually. For instance, each root is hand-cut into pieces, crushed into weasels, soaked and rinsed. The thick brown paste that results is washed several times and filtered in cold spring water until a pure white starch remains. This starch is then dried, chopped into small pieces and packed.
This whole artisanal process creates a natural binding agent with extraordinary powers!
Traditionally, kuzu powder is used as a versatile thickener, first aid, and recovery food and by people in mountain regions as a replacement for rice and wheat. It was also a handy "food to go " for the samurai warriors.
Kuzu is favoured for its neutral taste, delicate texture and ability to enhance the flavour of other ingredients.
With its exceptional nutrition and high effectiveness, particularly when accompanied by a balanced plant-based diet, kuzu:
- is rich in minerals, therefore supporting your gut and its microbiome
- has an estrogen-like effect beneficial for pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women
- eases the symptoms of menopause, including headaches, hot flashes, and irregular bleeding
- is helpful for increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain and body
- lowers blood pressure and reduces the chances of clotting and strokes
- soothes and helps treat digestive cramping and diarrhoea and works for acute and chronic conditions
- when taken several times a day, kuzu helps stabilize blood sugar level and improve glucose metabolism
Have always some kuzu at home and with you when you travel.
And use it regularly as we do!
Make it in the morning, as your afternoon snack or as a soothing, relaxing treat in the evening. You will love it!
To prepare this magic potion for 2, you will need the following:
Note: 1 cup = 250ml
2 cups of 100% apple or pear juice
two pinches of white sea salt *
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder or fresh ginger juice to your taste
1 apple, cut into smaller cubes
finely grated peel of 1/4 lemon, orange or mandarine
2 heaped tablespoons of kuzu daily * or premium *, diluted in the 1/4 cup of cold spring water
cinnamon, if you like
* Tampopo Foods product
Step by step:
1, Bring the juice with salt and ginger powder gradually to a boil.
2, Add the apple and the lemon zest and simmer for 1 minute.
3, While stirring, add the diluted kuzu and keep stirring until the juice becomes transparent again.
4, Pour into cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.
We love to mix apple juice with pear juice.
Alter the apple for other seasonal fruits like pears or prunes.
You may use dried fruits like apricots *, goji berries and mulberries *.
Or, in the summer, add fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries to your cup.
Don't cook them; pour the hot kuzu over them.
Add clover, orange zest, and cinnamon sticks to the juice and let it simmer.
You will get a lovely warming drink to serve on cold days or for your Christmas or New Year toast!
And what is our favourite?
We love to sprinkle a crunchy granola over our warm apple kuzu.
Or we put crispy cornflakes * on the bottom of the cup.
It's so yummy!
Check also this medicinal variation for the ume-sho-kuzu drink.
Ume-sho-kudzu drink strengthens your digestion and alkalizes your blood.
It's very helpful with menstrual cramps, headaches, acid reflux and belly pain, nausea, diarrhoea, flu, and many other conditions.
Effective and safe!
Terrasana and MUSO Co., Ltd.; product manual
The lost book of herbal remedies; Nicole Apelian, PhD.
Macrobiotic home remedies; Michio Kushi with Marc Van Cauwenberghe, MD.
And our kuzu use experince for over 25+ years ;-).
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