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Shimimochi (Frozen mochi)

Shimimochi are preserved delicacies associated with Fukushima prefecture, created by forming mochi (balls made of pounded rice) from non-glutinous and glutinous rice and mixing in wild herbs such as wild burdock and artemisia, before hanging each ball individually with straw in a high spot to freeze-dry, with the rows of mochi resembling a hanging curtain of straw. The resulting cakes are termed korimochi (ice mochi) or shimimochi (frozen mochi) because of the way they are created by absorbing water, freezing and then drying in the chilly winter wind, a form of freeze-drying that takes advantage of the intense cold that develops from early January to late February in Fukushima. As these mochi have excellent keeping qualities, they have long been eaten in Fukushima with its lengthy winters. As a key feature of these mochi is that they tend to stay soft when they get cold, so they are easy to digest, making them the ideal snack. With fewer people possessing the skills to make this kind of foodstuff nowadays, the manufacturer started crafting Shimimochi ten years ago with the aim of ensuring that this fine tradition is passed down to future generations.