June 8, 2011

Reitou (Frozen) Mikan/冷凍みかん

The other day, my daughter reported that a reitou (frozen) mikan was served as part of school lunch at her elementary school, and said it was very good. Reitou mikan are another food that makes many Japanese feel "natsukashii". They were very popular in 30s and 40s of Showa (1955 to 1974).

After you take one from the bag, you have to wait for several minutes until you can peel it easily.
If you ever want to make reitou mikan by yourself, put fresh mikan in the freezer, and when they are completely frozen, take them out, and dip in fridge-cold water quickly, and return to the freezer. The dipping in water makes a layer of ice on the surface of the mikan and prevents the mikan from drying.


fred said...

Interesting topic!

This is my habits to keep some portions of orange (mandarin) I bought in the freezer!!

I learned this method when watching anime some years ago(笑)

Sissi said...

Incredible! I would have never guessed frozen mandarins can be delicious... I must try it when I will have some space in my freezer ;-)
Thank you Hiroyuki for revealing one more marvellous item of the Japanese food preparations.
I have found an interesting article (from 2010 but I suppose still true) about mikan: http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/none/no-one-eats-mikan-anymore-437686

Hiroyuki said...

fred: Anime? That sounds interesting!

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Incredible? It's incredible that you say so (laugh).

Any fruit will taste better when frozen, especially in summer, right?
Strawberries, bananas (pre-peeled), canned pineapple, etc.

I found pre-peeled frozen mikan:

Thanks for the link. As I mentioned somewhere in my blog, the Japanese used to consume large amounts of mikan in winter. My mother used to buy them by the box, and we used to have just a lot of them while sitting under the kotatsu. We used to have so many that our hands turned yellowish (from the pigment absorbed from the intestine!).

fred said...

Just common anime, not a cooking-themed anime... also I don't remember which anime it was.(笑)
But seems, reitou mikan often showed up in many TV broadcast when summer time... isn't it?

Hiroyuki said...

fred: Is it? If it's true, then it's probably because we, those Japanese who were born in the 30s of Showa, now have strong purchasing power (laugh)!

fred said...

and, find one recent anime shows reitou mikan!

Hiroyuki said...

fred: Thanks for the link!

I really don't know much about what's happening in the world of anime...

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, you will not believe me, but citrus fruits are never frozen in Switzerland or France (at least I have never seen it). Usually red soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries, cherries...), plums, peaches are found, these are also the majority of what people freeze at home. That is why it's so incredible for me!
I have also discovered through this article the kotatsu. I have never heard about this warming table before.
I go to prepare my small aji. I will report to you how it turned out!

fred said...

I forgot to tell;

Usually, I peel frozen oranges by cutting them halved or quartered (with knife), then can be easily peeled by small knife. Indeed it can be done without waiting the skin softened.

But you can't feel your fingers become yellow-ish and fragrant!(笑)
oh, with frozen oranges you also can get very fine zest!

Kiki said...

As in swiss or france - in Germany we also are not used to freeze citrus fruits - never seen this before. In my childhood my mom cut oranges open on the top, carefully took the flesh out without damaging the peel, made orange icecream from the juice, refilled the oranges with the icecream, put the top back, stored them in the freezer and served them frozen - but thats not the same. I will definitely freeze some tangerines next winter - they are only available for a short period of time and most delicious (and yes peeling tangerines also gives a lot of fancy colour on the fingers).

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi, fred, Kiki: If you have tens of mikan a day, you will know what I mean. Your hands (and other parts of your body) turn yellowish not because of peeling but the pigment
that enters your body through the digestive system.

Come to think of it, reitou mikan is probably the only frozen citrus fruit I have ever had. I'll give other citrus fruits a try!

Kiki said...

For other citruses: Guess Kumquats (キンカン) should freeze nicley. I will use these first.

I did'nt know satsumas contain so much carotenoid. Found this:
"Carotenoid concentration and composition vary greatly among citrus varieties and depend on the growing conditions (Gross, 1987). During citrus fruit development, massive accumulation of carotenoids occurred concomitantly with the degradation of chlorophyll. Mandarin varieties, such as Satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.), accumulated β-cryptoxanthin (β-cry) predominantly in the flavedo and juice sacs in mature fruit [..]" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC344557/

Maybe its because of your climate and soil conditions in Japan Mikans contain so many carotenoid and other Satsumas from spain don't.

At the moment I am eating tons of apricots (fresh from france, 2 mg carotenoid per 100 g) but not switching colour (laugh).
Btw. I am going to buy the mangas - they seem to be rather easy to read (with the help of my dictionary and plenty of time..). Thanks to your pictures.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Yes, kinkan should freeze well. I found one example:
1箱(500g 30個~35個) 3,150円
3,150 yen for 30-35 pieces!?

I first tried natsumikan. Will post about the results later.

First the video set and then the manga!? (laugh)

YSC said...

Hi Hiroyuki - yes, I wonder whether Japanese mikan have more carotenoid. In my childhood, I remember my hands were yellow in winter as well, although it might also be because of the sheer quantity of mikan that we ate... After moving to other countries, I've never experienced that again.

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: Thank you for your comment.

I only know that mikan contain a large amount of β-cryptoxanthin (a type of carotenoid), which combines with fatty acids in the blood and is eventually stored in fat cells.
Japanese only