Clean rice nurtured in the rich natural environment of Aomori
Rice cultivation requires fertile soil and high quality water supplies.
Aomori Prefecture is home to the Hakkoda mountains and Mt. Iwaki, as well as rich forestry resources such as the World Heritage-inscribed beech forests of Shirakami-Sanchi. The snows that fall on the mountains slowly melt in the autumn and enrich the earth.
The meltwater that is rich in forest minerals is a treasured water resource of Aomori and water from rivers like the Iwaki, Mabechi and Oirase that run through the prefecture are used in rice cultivation.
In addition, the high yield per unit area and the long hours of sunlight also help to support healthy rice growth. Although you might think that Aomori receives less sunlight that other places due do its position on the northernmost tip of Honshu Island, in actual fact it is Aomori that receives the most sunlight in the whole Tohoku region during the rice growing months from May to October. What is more, the cool climate of the prefecture helps to keep pests in check. It is this climate, coupled with disease-resistant varieties that enable Aomori rice to be “cleanly cultivated” with minimal use of pesticides.
How is Aomori rice produced?
Eichi Sato has been cultivating rice in Rokunohe Town in Aomori for 11 years. His farm is right next to the Oirase River and he produces the Masshigura rice variety on a large scale.
Sato talks about his efforts to reduce use of agricultural chemicals, noting, “As this is a crop that people eat I try to use as few pesticides as possible.” By reducing the use of pesticides for pest control and also using the latest equipment when sorting the harvested rice to winnow out any rice with pest damage, it is possible to ship high-quality rice.
Sato says, “The Masshigura variety can be stably cultivated with consistent quality. One of its appeals is that it is delicious even when chilled.”
Sato plants a large area of rice so it is imperative that he works efficiently. Using the latest combine harvester he can harvest rice at amazing speed. While employing the latest machinery he also still uses time-honored methods of water management to cultivate the rice steadily and surely, based on the experiences and wisdom of his predecessors.
“Cultivating rice represents the crystallization of technologies with links to the local community. By incorporating the best aspects of our predecessors’ ways of cultivation with the latest technologies available to us today, it is possible to nurture delicious rice efficiently.”
Sato says that he his eager to further increase the land area under cultivation and expand sales channels, making clear his desire to continue to produce rice for his customers.
Aomori rice brands and their distinctive deliciousness
The three main brands of rice to be cultivated in Aomori are “Seiten no Hekireki,” “Tsugaru Roman,” and “Masshigura.” Masshigura is the variety that is cultivated across a wide area of Aomori and is also the most popular brand of Aomori rice for export.
Masshigura enjoys a good reputation in the food industry and is often used in Japanese restaurants overseas.
When cooked, Masshigura is distinctive in that the grains appear glossy white and have an appealing uniformity in shape and size. It has a firm texture, low viscosity and a clean taste that helps to enhance the flavors of side dishes. It is also an excellent choice for use in donburi rice bowl dishes and also paired with curry. Masshigura rice is also delicious chilled, so it is a good choice when making rice balls.
Nutrients in rice
Rice is mainly carbohydrates, which is one of the three main nutritional elements essential for a healthy body. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the body and used as an energy source. Rice also contains various other nutrients such as protein and vitamins, and is said to be the best among all cereal crops.
Unlike flour used in bread and noodles, rice is gluten-free, making it easy to digest and therefore effective for diet and health.
How to prepare delicious Aomori rice
Delicious rice can easily be prepared at home using a rice cooker or saucepan.
Here we introduce how to cook rice to perfection, together with a few recipes, so please try them at home.
How to cook delicious rice
Rice with scallops in butter and soy sauce
Here we have shared the secrets behind why Aomori rice is so delicious, and the various ways it can be eaten.
Masshigura, the Aomori rice brand grown with loving care in the rich natural environment of Aomori is a delicious food that pairs well with almost any dish.
Why not introduce Aomori rice into your home cooking repertoire?