Nanakusa – 7 greens for a healthy start for the new year

At the very end of the year, as I was rushing between a meeting and a dentist appointment, I got a surprise visit from Shimizu-san, the gardener who put in my wonderful Japanese balcony garden. He was bringing me, as a year-end gift and thank you for my business, a nanakusa no kago (photo above). It’s a little basket planted with seven spring herbs.

seri (芹) – water dropwort (Oenanthe javanica)
gogyō (御形) – jersey cudweed (Gnaphalium affine D. Don)
nazuna (薺) – shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
hakobe (繁縷) – common chickweed (Stellaria media)
hotokenoza (仏の座) – nipplewort (lapsana communis). The Japanese name is literally “Buddha’s seat”.
suzuna (菘) – turnip leaf.
suzushiro (蘿蔔) – daikon leaf.

The tradition is to make a rice porridge using these greens on Jan. 7. But that’s tomorrow and I don’t think I can bear to break up my basket arrangement to harvest the greens at home. So I’ll probably go buy a nanakusa set, which are widely sold in supermarkets, green grocers and department store food sections during the first week of the New Year. Here’s a photo:

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2 Responses to Nanakusa – 7 greens for a healthy start for the new year

  1. Pingback: Nanakusa Vegetable Juice 七草野菜ジュース! | Alice Gordenker    アリス・ゴーデンカー

  2. Jeffrey says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s just about three months too soon to be harvesting “spring herbs,” isn’t it? Is this another one of those odd “only with a Japanese calendar” things like women being pregnant for 10-months?

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