Azuki, directly translates to "small bean." They are reddish-brown in color and are rounded in shape with a point at one end and have a mild earthy flavor and slightly sweet taste. Azuki beans are valued for their relatively low cooking time as well as low fat, high protein and natural sugar profile. Containing only 1-2% fat, if any at all, and absolutely no saturated fat or cholesterol, they are the most "Yang" bean and have become a preferred legume of Zen Macrobiotic Cooking.
Azuki beans were first introduced to Japan around 1000 A.D. and flourished in the cold, moist volcano-rich soils of Japan's most Northern, island of Hokkaido. They are harvested during the winter months of November and December, right before snow fall. This strong variety has the most health benefits of all azuki.
Hokkaido Azuki bean are high in mineral components, such as vitamin B1 and poly phenols and contain more potassium than other azuki beans grown outside of Japan.
The Japanese have used Hokkaido Azuki Beans for centuries to strengthen the heart, regulate blood circulation, help with fatigue, and improve the functions of the bladder and kidneys. Hokkaido Azuki are also used to keep the digestive system healthy and on track. Azuki beans from Hokkaido island are packed with magnesium, calcium, and iron and therefore are ideal for women's general health. The Japanese have long believed that azuki helps replenishing new blood cells as well as assists with difficult menstruation.
Azuki are highly prized by the Japanese as an overall tonic for the kidneys and are very effective for eliminating kidney stones and infections. Azuki tea or azukicha reduces water retention and detoxifies the body, aids swollen eye lids, black circles and puffy bags under the eyes, and restores the moisture balance in the body. They are often eaten to combat fatigue and recovery from muscle strain.
Used both internally and externally, azuki beans are sweet, delicious and will nourish your body inside and out!