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|Place of origin||Japan|
|Region or state||Tokushima and Kagawa, Shikoku|
|Main ingredients||Sugarcane plants (taketō or chikusha)|
Wasanbon (和三盆) is a fine-grained Japanese sugar, traditionally made in the Shikoku prefectures of Tokushima and Kagawa. The sugar is often used for Japanese sweets (wagashi). The sugar is made from thin sugarcane plants grown locally in Shikoku, called taketō (竹糖) or chikusha (竹蔗).
It is a light golden colour, with granules slightly larger than icing sugar and has a unique aroma and flavour, with butter and honey overtones.
It is used in making sweets and yōkan, as a coffee and tea sweetener, in dipping sauces at sushi restaurants, and in baking at home.
A grade of the sugar called "awa wasanbon toh" is considered by some people to be the highest grade.
The variety of sugarcane used is called in Japanese "chikutoh." (The locals in the area call it "hosokiki.") Other names for it are Saccharum sinense, aka Chinese sugar cane. This variety of sugarcane grows about two yards (two metres) tall, and is about as thick as a finger. Other parts of the world use sugar cane that grows taller and thicker, as it produces more sugar.
The chikutoh sugarcane is harvested between December and February. It is harvested late in the year on purpose, to allow the sugar content of the cane to develop to its maximum.
The juice is then brought to a boil and boiled for about 30 minutes. It will foam with green foam, which is removed, as it contains a bitter green lye.
At the end of the point, the juice will be light yellow coloured. It is let stand to allow sediment to settle to the bottom. The clarified juice is drained off, then boiled again to condense it, then cooled. The juice becomes a light brown. It is allowed to stand for one week, during which time it mostly solidifies into crystalline masses. These solids are wrapped in a cloth and squeezed in a pressing tub for a day to press liquid out of those solidified pieces.
The pieces are then dried quickly so that the sugar does not ferment, and then they are crushed and sieved into a fine sugar.
- The World of Sugar. In Shosha Magazine. Tokyo: Marubeni. Summer 2003. Page 3
- 和三盆 [Wasanbon] (in Japanese).[self-published source?]
- Matsui, T; Kitaoka, S (1981). "Contents and compositions of the aroma in 'Wasanbon' sugar". Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 27 (6): 563–72. PMID 7334426.
- Matsui T, Kitaoka S. Contents and compositions of the aroma in "Wasanbon" sugar. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1981;27(6):563-72.
- Hosking, Richard. A dictionary of Japanese food: ingredients & culture. Tuttle Publishing. 2004. Page 234 to 235.
- Awa wasanbon toh. Okada Sugar Manufacture. Retrieved September 2010 from http://www.wasanbon.co.jp/wasanbon/index_eng.html