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Japan Photo Journal: Chilies chill outside to bring out sweetness in snowy Niigata Pref.

(Mainichi/Makoto Ishizuka)

An employee of spice maker Kanzuri Co. tosses red chili peppers onto fresh white snow in Myoko, Niigata Prefecture, on Jan. 20, 2021. In this annual ritual, salted chili peppers are spread out on a net and left in the snow for three to four days to rid them of their bitter and astringent flavor, and enhance their sweetness. The peppers will then be mixed with yuzu citrus, rice malt and other ingredients, and fermented for around three years to create "kanzuri" local pepper paste. Female employees worked under clear blue skies in 1-degree Celsius weather on this windless day. The president of Kanzuri commented, "Although we didn't need to worry about snow this year, we weren't able to have residents join us in the experience due to the spread of the coronavirus. We'd like to carry on with our work with the hope that the coronavirus will be contained by the time the paste reaches them."

    (Japanese original by Makoto Ishizuka, Joetsu Local Bureau)

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