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Taranome are the young buds of the angelica tree. Light green in color the buds are picked when about two inches in length. The bud is ready to be harvested from the tree when it is open and has a new sprout about one inch in length growing out of it. Older, over grown Taranome will have a bitter flavor so it’s best to harvest them when they are young. The branch attached to the bud will be covered in sharp thorns, a characteristic the angelica tree is known for. Greenhouse grown Taranome are less acidic and bitter than the wild variety but lack the true Taranome flavor they are prized for. Wild Taranome will oftentimes have a transparent jelly-like sap coming from the cut.
Greenhouse grown Taranome are available in the spring and winter months. Wild Taranome are available starting in spring and lasting through the early summer.
Taranome are a member of the Araliaceae family and are the new sprouts of the Japanese angelica tree. Botanically known as Aralia spinosa the angelica tree is also known as Hercules Club and Devil’s Walking Stick due to the presence of sharp thorns covering both the trunk and branches of the tree.
Taranome are rich in potassium which has been shown to help to remove sodium from the body benefiting those that suffer from high blood pressure. They also contain beta-carotene, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
Taranome are most often prepared dipped and fried in tempura fashion in Japan. They can also be boiled and added to pasta or rice dishes. Taranome will go bad quickly, therefore it is better to eat them as soon as they are harvested. However if you need to keep them a little longer they will keep refrigerated for a few days if they are wrapped in newspaper and placed in a plastic bag with holes. For long term storing they can also be parboiled and frozen for future use.
Taranome are hydroponically-cultivated in Yamagada prefecture, Tokushima prefecture, Toyama prefecture and Shimane prefecture. Taranome are considered as the king of Sansai (edible wild plants) in Japan. Although growing Taranome has become popular among farmers, wild Japanese angelica trees can be found in mountains and fields all over Japan. The Medara tree is often used to grow Taranome and is a type of Japanese angelica tree that has fewer thorns than many other Japanese angelica trees.
Recipes that include Taranome. One is easiest, three is harder.
|World Cooking||Tempura Taranome Spears|