Ehime Prefecture, located in the northwestern part of Shikoku in western Japan, is famous for many things, one of which is Kawachi Bankan, a very juicy citrus fruit that has a sugar content of about 11%.
The warm climate of Ehime, which means “beautiful princess,” is ideal for fruit-growing. The prefecture is surrounded by magnificent nature. The Dogo Onsen, which has been certified in the 3-star Michelin Green Guide Japan, is said to be the oldest hot spring in Japan and a symbol of Japanese hot spring culture. In addition, the Shimanami Kaido, which connects Ehime and Hiroshima, has been attracting attention as a cyclist’s sanctuary.
And yet no visit to Ehime would be complete without trying Kawachi Bankan. Ehime is Japan's largest producer of the fruit. Besides its moderate sweetness and refreshing acidity, it also contains plenty of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber, and is characterized by relatively low calories, sugar and fat compared to other citrus fruits.
The best time to eat Kawachi Bankan is from April to July. In the summer season, everyone can enjoy its sweetness and refreshing acidity by chilling it in the refrigerator. You can even freeze it.
Kawachi Bankan has a thick rind that can be easily peeled off by hand. In addition, the peel is rich in citrus aroma, which also makes it ideal for marmalade.
In addition, it contains an equivalent amount of glutamic acid to sour lemon, so it goes well with fish and meat and can be used as a flavor for cooking.
Specific examples of cooking and eating
・ Dried fruits ・ Juice ・ Soft serve ice cream ・ Smoothies ・ Smoothie ・ Jelly ・ Dressing ・ Carpaccio sauce ・ Jam ・ Cocktail ・ Cooking flavor
Where is it cultivated？
The southwestern region, where citrus fruit cultivation is popular, has been certified as a Japanese Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (J-NIAHS) , and is characterized by steep terraced fields, and along with a magnificent landscape, it is the backbone of Japan‘s number one “citrus kingdom Ehime.”
The region has an average temperature surpassing 16 ℃, and it is also blessed with the so called “three sunlight benefits” – namely, ample amounts of direct sunlight, sunlight reflected from the sea’s surface and sunlight reflected and heat radiated from the stone walls. These provide the conditions necessary for high-quality citrus production.
In these areas, there are farming, forestry and fishery business experience learning programs, as well as "private lodging“ where everyone can fully experience the life of the "countryside" of Japan. These attempts by the local residents to “personalize” the SDGs have also been garnering attention.
Recently, it has been found that Kawachi Bankan contain more "auraptene“ than other citrus fruits, which is believed to help prevent dementia and promote lipid metabolism, and future demand growth is expected.
By powdering citrus fruits, the concentration of auraptene can be increased, so it is currently being commercialized.
Don't leave Ehime Prefecture without some Kawachi Bankan.
Source: Ehime Ai-Food Promotion Organization© Japan Today