Perfect for baked sweet potatoes, Anno sweet potatoes from the Hometown Festival on Tanegashima Island
The Furusato Festival, held annually in Minami-Tane Town on Tanegashima Island, is a festival showcasing local culture and traditions.
Typically, this festival is held at the end of summer. The main events include folk song and dance performances, sales of local products and food, and traditional festival stalls and games.
The Furusato Matsuri is an important event for the people of Minami-Tane Town and attracts many tourists and visitors. Visitors can enjoy the heartwarming hospitality of the local people and the rich nature and culture of the area.
Local products and food
Minami-Tane Town has abundant nature and many delicious local products. At the Furusato Festival, some of the most representative of these products will be sold. For example, marine products such as Kurobuta pork and bonito, sweet sweet potatoes and Minamitane-town's specialty rice. You can find out more about local specialties and foods and be introduced to them.
Comments from people attending the Hometown Festival
The Furusato Festival attracts many locals as well as visitors from far away.
The festival is very popular among visitors from outside the island, as they can purchase local produce and enjoy local dancing and drumming.
Quite a few people buy local produce in large quantities and send it home by courier.
Best for baked sweet potatoes, Anno sweet potato fair
Known as a specialty of Tanegashima, Anno sweet potato is a type of Japanese sweet potato and a typical agricultural product of Tanegashima. Anno sweet potatoes are known as a high quality variety and have a unique flavor and sweetness.
Anyone can participate in this fair, but there are several criteria that can be used as a reference for judging the quality of Anno sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes. Some examples are listed below.
In terms of appearance, good quality Anno or sweet potatoes should be well-shaped, have few blemishes or discolorations, and have a beautiful, bright color. It is also important that they are of uniform size.
Good quality is considered to be yellowish-orange in color for Anno sweet potatoes and reddish brown for sweet potatoes. The color is considered good if it is bright and uniform. The evaluation is based on intuition.
Anno sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes have a distinctive sweet aroma. The rich aroma is a key point to indicate high quality.
At the fair, the Anno sweet potatoes still had soil attached to them, so they only had an "earthy" smell.
Anno sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes are characterized by their rich sweetness and sticky texture. They are considered to be of good quality if they have a strong flavor and are chewy.
Also, it is said that Anno sweet potatoes need to be exposed to cold weather after harvesting to produce sweetness, so they all devise ways to produce sweetness.
However, since fresh Anno sweet potatoes are displayed at the fair, the taste cannot be judged.
Appropriate moisture content is also a key to quality, but this level of quality cannot be determined at a fair. It is a game of "feel".
If the moisture content is too little, it will be dry, and if the moisture content is too much, the taste and quality will deteriorate. The storage conditions of Anno sweet potatoes greatly affect the moisture content, so they need a proper storage place after harvesting.
These criteria can be used as a reference for the Anno sweetpotato fair. However, at the fair, the judging is based on personal preferences.
History of Anno sweet potato
The history of Anno sweet potato dates back to the early Edo period when Araki Mataemon, a Chinese herbalist who immigrated from Ming Dynasty, brought a seed of sweet potato called "Beniharuka" that had been cultivated in China.
Later, the variety was improved to suit the mineral-rich climate of Tanegashima's seaside area, and today it is one of Tanegashima's representative specialty products.
How to eat Anno sweet potatoes
Anno sweet potatoes are loved by many people for their unique flavor and sweetness.
On Tanegashima Island, it is used in a variety of dishes and is also popular as a baked sweet potato, sweet potato, and other sweets. Here are some recommended ways to eat Anno sweet potatoes.
baked sweet potato
The most major way to eat baked potatoes is to bake them, which makes them sweeter and tastier.
When baked in the oven or microwave, you can enjoy its flaky texture. Generally, yaki-imo is eaten with the skin removed, but on Tanegashima Island, there are quite a few people who eat it with the skin on, even if there is some soil on it.
deep-fried ball of fish paste
This dish is like sweet potato tempura, with a crispy texture. The use of Anno sweet potatoes gives this sweet potato tempura a rich flavor.
Sweet potatoes and gelato
Sweet potatoes are a sweet treat made by mixing sugar, eggs, and butter. The use of Anno sweet potatoes enhances the flavor and sweetness, making it even more delicious.
On Tanegashima Island, Anno sweet potato gelato is also available, which is also excellent.
food cooked by boiling or stewing
Although an unexpected cooking method, simmering Anno sweet potatoes gives them a unique sweetness and soft texture.
On Tanegashima Island, the dish can be seasoned with broth and soy sauce to make it even more delicious.
As described above, Anno sweet potato is a delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Why not try tasting Anno sweet potatoes when you visit Tanegashima?
Anno sweet potato varieties
There are many varieties of Anno sweet potatoes. The two main varieties on the island are "Beni" and "Kogane", but there are also "Beni Haruka", "Beni Azuma", "Benimaru", "Shiro Azuma", and "Kintoki".
I prefer the smaller ones to the larger ones, but when I send Annou imo to a stranger, I send the "larger ones". If they are too small, people in Honshu (the main island of Japan) may think that small Annou imo are "scraps". I don't want to send too small potatoes because people in Honshu may mistake them as "scraps".
Did you know? Virus-Free Seedling Initiative for Anno Sweet Potatoes at Tanegashima High School
On Tanegashima Island, crop production is sometimes reduced due to virus infections and other pests. For this reason, the Agriculture Department of Tanegashima High School is working to propagate virus-free seedlings. Virus-free seedlings are seedlings from which pathogens have been completely removed to prevent outbreaks of pests caused by virus infections and other diseases. Tanegashima High School has succeeded in propagating virus-free seedlings, which has contributed to increasing the production of Anno sweet potatoes.
Tissue culture technology is used to propagate virus-free seedlings. Tissue culture is a technique for creating new plants by taking roots, stems, leaves, etc. from plant tissue and regenerating them on a culture medium. Propagation by tissue culture plays a very important role in completely eliminating pathogens such as viral infections.
As mentioned above, there are various varieties of Anno sweetpotato, and Tanegashima High School is working to propagate virus-free seedlings. These efforts are increasing the production of Anno sweetpotato and enhancing its value as a specialty of Tanegashima.
Events for children and displays of local handicrafts
The festival also includes events for children and displays of local handicrafts.
By participating in the festival, locals aim to strengthen community unity and pass on their traditions and culture to the next generation.
Summary of Tanegashima's Anno sweet potatoes, ideal for baked potatoes
I have introduced some photos from the Minamitane Town Furusato Festival, including the Anno sweet potato fair in Tanegashima, but what do you think?
We hope you will taste this delicious Anno sweet potato when you come to Tanegashima.
Thank you for reading to the end.