Release | Takako Chiba
Canned beans from Kitazawa Shokuhin, Yubari
The canned beans which have somewhat vintage feeling labels and use only beans produced in Hokkaido. I recommend it for not only everyday dishes but also presents.
Sweetened scarlet runner beans, sweetened toramame beans, sweetened Taisho red kidney beans, sweetened Shirohanamame, and cooked red beans all from HokkaidoThe labels of can print “Made in Hokkaido”, names of beans such as “scarlet runner bean” and “Toramame”, and pictures of beans. The canned beans with somewhat vintage feeling created from fonts and colors are produced by Kitazawa Shokuhin, which is located in Shimizuzawa Yubari-City and established in 1921.
▲Kitazawa Shokuhin’s canned beans. They are located in Yubari.
Those from Yubari and Sorachi! Didn’t your family stock one of these in your house? Didn’t your mother give these cans to take home when you go back to see them in summer and new years? Or didn’t you find one or two cans in boxes from home which packed food?
I can hear people say “Yes! Yes! And yes!”.
These canned beans made with Hokkaido produced beans, sugar, and salt are the long-seller of Kitazawa Shokuhin.
The previous manager moved to Yubari and started producing canned strawberry jam and canned asparagus (they have a bad memory about the beginning; the owner did not know anything at that time, and they had to dispose everything at first) in 1921. They expanded the business to produce sweet corn, boiled and salted green peas, cooked red beans, tomato puree, etc., in 1930. At around 1935, they started to produce and sell sweetened scarlet runner beans recalling the memories of the previous manager about his days spent in Nagano Prefecture, where he was from. This was the start of canned beans continued until now.
▲“Sweetened scarlet runner beans” uses purple scarlet runner beans produced in Hokkaido.
The ingredients, both beans, and sugar are all from Hokkaido They used purple scarlet runner beans produced in Yubari and wrote “From Yubari” on cans before, but the ingredients became insufficient because of the aging of farmers and damages from wildlife. They now also use beans from Kitami and Tokachi for canned beans. However, their packed “Sweetened scarlet runner beans” still use beans produced in Yubari, so they still write the producer on the package.
▲Big pieces of beans are of course delicious, but the broth is also amazing!
Kitazawa Shokuhin produces 6 kinds of canned beans now; sweetened scarlet runner beans, sweetened toramame beans, sweetened Taisho red kidney beans, sweetened Shirohanamame, and cooked red beans.
The beans are cooked handmade carefully with skilled expertsTheir factory in Shimizuzawa, Yubari, is not a modern factory with latest digital technologies. It is rather a warm factory, and they cook carefully and manually. Also, they do not mass produce with machines every day. They manage the stocks and operate the factory when they almost run out of stocks. There is no waste.
▲Kitazawa Shokuhin’s factory.
“Seven to eight females and about three males work here when the factory is in operation. The maximum amount we can produce is about 300 boxes with 24 cans in each box.” The manager of Kitazawa Shokuhin, Yoshio Tanizen told me.
After farmers pick beans, Kitazawa Shokuhin picks again before producing. They start cooking after choosing big pieces of beans.
Wash the picked beans carefully and remove surfaced grains and wastes carefully. They immerse beans for a night after preparations.
▲Removing surplus broth with the cylindrical net.
Boiling beans in the pots require a skilled expert! After they remove harshness and surplus broth, then flavor the beans. They have the standard amounts of sugar and salt, but they adjust the amounts according to the conditions of beans. It requires a high skill matured in a long time.
▲Picking and packing beans are done all manually.
▲Cooling cans after heat sterilization.
When it’s boiled completely, they separate beans and broth. Package the fixed quantity into cans, seal cans, and heat sterilize with steams. The cans last for three years from the date of production in normal temperature. I can also recommend this as preserved food stocks.
▲They box the cans manually and carefully, too.
The canned beans by Kitazawa Shokuhin have right sweetness and puffy texturesSweetened scarlet runner beans, sweetened toramame beans, sweetened Taisho red kidney beans, sweetened Shirohanamame, and cooked red beans; each bean is cooked without killing beans’ characteristics. All pieces are large, puffy, and mild! Don’t scoop with spoons and eat it at once. Enjoy just a piece by picking it with a pair of chopsticks to feel the flavor at most. It is quite filling because each piece is large.
▲Sweetened scarlet runner beans. Every piece are large and had not fallen apart after boiling. So beautiful.
And as I told that it is cooked with sugar and salt, and can preserve for three years, you may think it is extremely sweet. However, that is not true. You can’t stop your hands to pick up beans with chopsticks. So addicting!
▲The slight sweetness makes you addicted.
People may imagine authentic Japanese dishes by hearing it is cooked beans, but Kitazawa Shokuhin’s canned beans can be enjoyed as desserts. You may finish the whole can without noticing when you pair it with green tea or coffee.
▲Sweetened Shirohanamame. I love eating these with a glass of cold white wine.
▲Enjoy the beans with this thick broth.
According to Mr. Tanizen, the design of cans has not changed for about 20 to 30 years. Of course, the flavor has not changed for a long time, even though they adjust slightly according to conditions of beans. Why don’t you try canned beans from Yubari, which is loved for a long time because it has not changed.
Takako Chiba, the chief editor of Hokkaido Likers who is from Yubari, will recommend this canned beans to Hokkaido, Japan, and the whole world!
You can find their beans at “JA Yubari Tokuhan Gakari”, “JA Yubari-Shi A Coop Shimizuzawa” and “Michi No Eki Meroad” within Yubari City. And in Sapporo City, “Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza” in JR Sapporo Station, “Kita Kitchen” in the underground shopping street Aurora Town in Odori, and “JA Doo Shin-Chitose Airport” in Shin-Chitose Airport.
You can find it at “Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza Yurakucho” in Tokyo also! Of course, you can order it online from anywhere in Japan!
Related Link- Kitazawa Shokuhin
Hokkaido Likers writer Takako Chiba
Pictures of the factory: Kitazawa Shokuhin
Photo: Tomoya Suwa