黒酢/Kurozu/Black Vinegar

Listening
One of my many favorites on NHK is “Landscape Sounds.” I don’t always watch it right away. I capture it to savor later and sometimes it rewards. Recently the show focused on the bubbling sounds of Kurozu or black vinegar. The beginning images focused on the shokunin or “craftsmen” who tirelessly spend their time going to each individual pot of fermenting rice or barley, removing the lid from each clay pot, listening, stirring then marking it by putting a pebble on the lid.

Kurozu

Then, the camera pulled away from the craftsmen to reveal a landscape filled with hundreds of rows lined with heavy clay pots and the looming presence of a particular volcano in the background.  The mountain, of course is Sakurajima and the prefecture where this particular vinegar is produced is Kagoshima.

Sakurajima-KurkozuPots2

Apparently, Kurozu or black vinegar has been produced in cities such as Fukuyama, Kirishima since the Edo period.  It’s thought to have high nutritional value and is apparently popular in different forms throughout the country.

Kurozu Pots

I don’t know whether my mother ever used it in her cooking and I doubt it was kurozu that the vendor gave me at the small, open-air, green grocer across the street when I gave her the empty vinegar bottle and asked for a refill of su or vinegar.

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2 Responses to “黒酢/Kurozu/Black Vinegar”

  1. neki rivera Says:

    vinegar craftsmen patiently listerning to the bubbling sound only in Japan.just wonderful!

    • Susan Says:

      It’s a pretty active, intense sound like boiling water, so you get the sense that it’s living and that’s an idea I’ve encountered in other places – like the simmering of adzuki beans to make an for wagashi.

      I also like the looks of those heavy clay pots.

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