Whenever a product gets a bit of attention in Japan for being unusually tasty or delicious, it tends to sell like crazy as people around the country scramble to get a taste of the highly praised flavor.
We’ve seen it happen before with the phantom cheesecake, the croissant gyoza that took a year to arrive, and now it’s the season for Fukushima peaches, which have become a hot item after they were praised by Robert Laing Harrow, head coach of the Australian women’s softball team, and Ken Eriksen, coach of the U.S. women’s softball team.
The peaches eaten by the Australian and U.S. women’s softball teams, which Harrow described as “outstanding,” and Eriksen called “absolutely delicious“, were a variety called Akatsuki, so we set out to purchase a box online.
They were pretty hard to find at a reasonable price and on short notice, as the harvests are sold in limited quantities and postage can be expensive, but we eventually managed to secure a top-quality box of Akatsuki.
A five-kilogram box contains 18-20 peaches which come direct from farmers associated with Fukushima’s Japan Agricultural Co-operative.
Opening the box revealed a total of 18 plump peaches inside. They were still firm, which was ideal because the fruit is said to be best left at room temperature for a day or two before eating. According to the information we received, these peaches aren’t suitable for storage in the refrigerator and are best kept in a dark, airy spot so that’s exactly what we did.
After two days, the peaches felt ripe to the touch, so we carefully peeled several of them and cut them up into bite-sized pieces.
The first thing we noticed was their amazing aroma, which was incredibly sweet and inviting, but then we bit into a piece and were blown away by the delectable sweetness and juiciness. Interestingly, the flesh stayed relatively firm, despite its juicy ripeness, allowing us to keep each piece on the fork without it breaking apart. The texture was just perfect, as the flesh melted on the tongue, leaving the taste buds awash with sweet, fruity flavor.
▼ The firm-yet-soft melt-in-the-mouth texture is a hallmark of this particular variety.
These had almost no acidity to them — just an overwhelming sweetness, and we could easily see why the U.S. coach said he’d eaten as many as six of them. After another day of ripening, our peaches became even softer and sweeter still, and we couldn’t resist eating even more of them the next day.
After eating half a dozen of these perfectly ripe, juicy sweet peaches, we couldn’t deny that the Akatsuki variety really is worthy of the hype surrounding it. According to the Japan Agricultural Co-operative in Fukushima, the harvest season for Akatsuki lasts until mid-August, so now is definitely the time to take the plunge if you’re wanting to try them.
After reading about the ice creams and snacks that have won the hearts of reporters during the Olympics, it’s nice to finally discover a more healthy option loved by the Olympians at the Tokyo Games.
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