Updated: July 12, 2017
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Seasonal Summer Vegetables That Are Commonly Eaten in Japan

Do you know a vegetable called "goya"? There are some particular vegetables like goya that become popular during summer in Japan. As people have been valued the seasonality in the dishes, such seasonal vegetables are often used in Japanese summer dishes. Here is a list of summer vegetables and common ways to eat them.

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Edamame (枝豆)

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Edamame, green soybean pods that are picked before ripen, has recently been popular in all over the world. It is very nutritious, containing much fiber, protein, and vitamin. Edamame is so popular and can be eaten all season, but the best season when they get more delicious and nutritious is summer.

The most common way to cook edamame in Japan is just boiling with salt. It is a common appetizer when people drink.
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Cucumber (kyuri/きゅうり)

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Cucumber (called kyuri in Japanese) is known as a summer vegetable. Cucumber is made up of 95% water, yet contains essential nutrition like vitamin (K and C), Magnesium, Iron, and more. It is healthy and helps to recover from the heat fatigue in hot summer.

People in Japan like to eat cucumber with miso dipping sauce. The fresh and juicy cucumber goes very well with the salty and flavorful miso.
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Eggplant (nasu/なす)

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Eggplant also becomes popular in summer. This vegetable is low in fat and cholesterol. It also contains much vitamin K, thiamin, potassium, manganese, and more. It can be cooked in various ways like boiled, fried, baked, and pickled.

In Japan, it is common to eat cold noodles like soba and udon in summer, and tempura including eggplant tempura often come with the noodles.
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Okra (オクラ)

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Okra is eaten almost only in summer. It is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and K, thiamin, and magnesium that can help to prevent from the heat fatigue.

Okra is often boiled and simply eaten with katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and tsuyu (sweet and savory sauce). It is often mixed with other ingredients like natto too.
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Corn (toumorokoshi/とうもろこし)

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Corn is one of the representatives of Japan's summer. It provides fiber, folate, thiamin, and vitamin B1 and C. The corns harvested during summer, the best season, are so sweet that people don't usually process them into other products.

The most popular way to eat corn is grilling with a bit batter and soy sauce. They are often sold in summer festivals.
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Goya (ゴーヤ)

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Goya, or bitter melon, is also a vegetable that represents summer. It is commonly grown and eaten in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It tastes very bitter but many people like the bitterness that adds a kick to dishes. It is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.

Goya chanpuru (ゴーヤチャンプルー) is the most famous Okinawan dish that is stir fried dish made of goya, tofu, eggs and meat or spam.
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Now you know what you should eat in summer! Many restaurants in Japan offer seasonal menu where these summer vegetables are used, so why not trying?
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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