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Description & Details

Kanzuri 6 Year Fermented Pepper and Yuzu Paste

85 gram jar - Niigata, Japan

Aged six years
Fermented Pepper with Yuzu Citrus

In a remote village in Japan , long before refrigeration, snow became a natural way to preserve locally-grown food for the winter.

By the time spring arrived the cold snow had not only “preserved” foods, it had, in some cases, transformed the food to something new.

As in the case of these Kanzuri peppers. They’re harvested in the summer, then kept in salt for six months, before being laid out on the snow for a few days early in the year. The “snow” process reduces the bitterness and the salt content of the peppers, while breaking down their fibrous structure, mellowing the punch, and bringing their sweet side out.

The peppers are then mixed with koji (rice mold) and yuzu citrus. The peppers and yuzu live together for six years – “fermenting” their relationship to create what is in this jar.

Place a spoonful in a dish on a table below your face and nose and the aromas will rise and float into your nostrils. It is subtle, but as you recognize the smell it becomes more pleasantly present.

If you take a big whiff and you will recognize the distinct aroma of a hot pepper with a slight twizzle tickle in the nostrils.

On the tongue (and in the mouth) the yuzu comes out quickly and then is gone, replaced by a mellow saltiness and the flavor of the pepper. I have to admit, putting even a small amount in my mouth directly was a little scary and I am happy to report that I survived. There is heat, but it is not all-enveloping. If there is a linger of a tingle it’s in the lower half of the mouth, the tip of the tongue and a momentary twitch in the back of the throat.

What is amazing with this fermented chili pepper paste with yuzu citrus is that it’s smooth, level, not spiky, but even-keeled, a temperament that is enhancing without too much dancing. You get the flavor of the pepper, the help of salt to open up the pores, and a nice smooooooth feel of pepper heat. There is no rush of accelerated heat or unpleasant explosion of hot sauce.

In use it is like a gentle wave across the palate. It doesn’t overwhelm, instead - like when you have it straight up - it is mellow across the board, yet you know it has a fiery core.

Simply, it is quite amazing ! Those in Niigata use it in hot pots, sashimi and the grill. Venus has replace her yuzu kosho with Kanzuri in her famous tuna fish salad and is loving it.

Much has changed in Niigata since way back when. The Kanzuri fermented pepper has not. The careful preparation has remained the same after all these years – a true slow food process in which time cannot be accelerated.
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