Wasadauri: Small Melon Big Flavor!

Known names: Wasadauri, Mauri, Matsumaeuri Production area: Tsuruoka City (Atsumi, Wasada area) Where to find: Atsumi Michi-no-Eki (rest stop) Typically comes in a pack of 2 for around ¥500. You can also buy Wasadauri flavored ice cream at a small shop next to the Michi-no-Eki in Atsumi as well for ¥300. Special Characteristics: Has very similar sweetness, texture and taste to that of the Prince Melon. At first glance the Wasadauri, or oriental melon, has a beautiful silver peel with 10 stripes and 5 carpels (the place where seeds come from), which is considered to be very rare as normal melons only have 3. History: According to Kumeno Sato who was born and raised in Wasada, the Wasadauri was originally cultivated during the Taisho period (1912-1926). This melon’s roots are believed to be traced back here to Shonai when a relative or friend of the wife of the priest of Dairyu-ji temple brought this melon back from Hokkaido when they were there for work. The Wasadauri has also been called Matsumaeuri. Due to the name Matsumae not only referring to a town near Hakodate in Hokkaido, but also Hokkaido in entirety, the exact location of the origin of this melon is unknown. This melon has a long history here in Shonai, especially the Koiwagawa area of Atsumi where they used to grow a melon called “Mauri”. According to the Kiyokawa Saito family records (1861) seeds from various different plants were carried from Shonai to help Ezo (Hokkaido), amongst those seeds were seeds from the “Mauri” melon. The Mauri melon is a little different from the Wasadauri melon, and is believed to have existed since the Edo period. Presently: This melon, along with buckwheat and foxtail millet, were previously grown in the same field that was burned to grow the Atsumi Turnip. However, due to low profitability because of an increase in the damage caused by wildlife eating the melons, they are no longer grown this way. These melons have been saved and cultivated, thanks to the “Wasadauri Preservation Society” ( a total of 5 members in 2013 ), and are shipped and produced from the joint house next to the michi-no-eki ( rest stop ) in Atsumi. Growing Method / Harvesting Time: It is believed that the seeds need to be planted before April 17th or else the growth of the plant could be stunted. Once the main “parent” vine forms, tertiary vines will begin to form and grow a unisex flower ( flower that has both male and female reproductive parts ) that will produce the melon. It is important to keep in mind when growing that this plant is particularly vulnerable to illness and being repeatedly cultivated. This plant is grown without using straw, but instead using reeds spread around the base. In order to let air through do not tightly pack down the reeds. It is said that the ideal harvesting time is around the time of Obon ( A Japanese holiday for visiting family graves, around August 13-16 ) when the fruit starts to naturally separate from the vine. ✸ Recommended Way to Eat: It’s best enjoyed chilled, but is also very delicious right off the vine. 1. Remove the skin of the melon and split the fruit into 4 pieces. 2. Put a few seeds in your mouth to get a good taste of the fruit juice. Once the juice has been removed from the seeds, you are free to throw them away. 3. After trying some of the juice from the seeds try some of the fruit itself. The juice from the seeds combined with the juice from the fruit packs a flavor punch that otherwise would be missed with this very subtly flavored melon! Wasadauri Sherbet Ingredients: Wasadauri 4 medium sized melons (makes around 1 liter ) Honey to taste Materials: Freezer safe container with a lid Food processor or blender Spoon Prep Time: Prep Time : 10- 15 minutes Time in the Freezer : 2-3 hours 1. Remove the skin from the melons and scoop out the inside using a spoon. 2. Place the fruit you removed from the melon into a food processor or blender, and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. 3. Mix the blended melon and honey to taste in a freezer safe container. Put the lid on the container and place flat in the freezer. 4. When you notice that it has begun to firm up, take it out of the freezer and serve! Wa-Lah! You have a simple yet extremely delicious sherbet that you can make to impress your friends and family on a hot summer day!

Wasadauri: Small Melon Big Flavor!