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Just like Kabocha and Japanese sweet potatoes, Yurine will taste sweeter when they are stored for 2 to 3 months after harvesting because their starch will turn into sugar. Yurine bulbs look just like garlic. They have a mild flavor and a texture similar to potatoes when they are cooked. Yurine is rarely served alone.
Yurine from Tanba, the central mountain region of Kyoto(Southern), Japan are available from late summer through fall. Yurine from Hokkaido(Northern), Japan are available in fall through the winter.
Yurine are time consuming crops that take at least 6 years to cultivate. It takes three years to plant, harvest and replant the initial crops and another three years of maturation before they can be used in production. Not only do farmers deal with many years of planting and cultivation, but they also have to pluck old bulbs as they grow Yurine because it depletes so much of the soils nutritional content. Farmers have to repeatedly plant Yurine every year and any field that was once used to grow Yurine must not be used to grow anything else for at least seven years.
Carbohydrate is the main component of Yurine. They are also rich with potassium. Consuming Yurine can help prevent high blood pressure, muscle contractions and kidney failure.
The color of fresh Yurine is creamy white. The surface ramenta is firm and should be tightly closed, much like garlic. You might find Yurine that is already broken apart in a package at a store, however it is better to buy it whole in a box of sawdust. Fresh, whole Yurine in a box of sawdust can be stored in a refrigerator for up to a month. If there is no sawdust, you can wrap Yurine in newspaper and store it in a refrigerator. It is important to make sure the newspaper is not wet, Yurine becomes weak when exposed to moisture. A Yurine that is already broken apart can be cooked in boiling water with some salt for 1 to 2 minutes or it can be steamed, then stored in a freezer for later use. Yurine should be broken into pieces before starting to cook.
Yurine is a lily bulb (tiger lily) that has been eaten for it's medicinal properties for many centuries. It is used for Japanese New Year dishes, thus the price drop after the New Year. In addition, it is often used for Kyoto style tea-ceremony dishes, but it is not considered the regions traditional vegetable. Yurine is made out of 3 Japanese kanji characters. The first character means one hundred, the second character means overlaps and the third kanji character means root, despite the fact Yurine is not a root. It is said the name comes from it's shape which is made out of many overlapping leaves.
Yurine origionally came from China however, Japanese farmers have been cultivating them since the 17th century(Edo period). 95% of Yurine is produced in Makkari, Hokkaido and 70% of Yurine is consumed in the Kansai area. It is said that Chinese and Japanese are the only people who consume Yurine worldwide.
Recipes that include Yurine. One is easiest, three is harder.