What is Soba?
A brief history of Soba
According to recent research, Soba first originated in Yunnan, China, though some say it was first discovered in Siberia (on the outskirts of the Himalayas) and Lake Baikal (in East Asia).
Because of its long, slender shape, many believe Soba symbolise stability and longevity.
That’s why it’s often eaten on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, or when someone is moving to a new place to settle down. This custom is alive everywhere in Japan, even today.
The goodness of Soba
You’d be amazed how nutritious Soba flour actually is. It contains eight amino acids and a rich source of vitamins. In contrast, most other flours are limited in amino acids. In fact, a combination of just half Soba and half wheat flour could give you more protein than lean beef alone!
Research has also shown that for rice, the embryo is removed during the polishing process. But for Soba, the embryo is milled along with the rest of the seed into Soba flour.
Could this be the key to its high nutritive values?
What makes good Soba?
Cultivating quality Soba begins with the right climate. The tastiest Soba grows best when there is a large difference in morning and evening temperatures.
However, extreme conditions, such as searing temperatures and frost, are most detrimental to the delicate Soba plant.
In Tasmania, temperatures almost never exceed 25°C, nor do they fall low enough for frost to occur. This is just the climate needed for healthy Soba storage throughout the year.
In Soba culture, the perfect Soba is “Hiki-Tate, Uchi-Tate, Yude-Tate” (freshly-milled, freshly-made, freshly-cooked).
The best way to enjoy the natural flavours of Soba is actually really simple. Fill a wineglass with cold water (preferably natural water).
Dip some cooked Soba into the water and savour the clean, wholesome flavours. That part is easy, but first, you’ve got to have Soba that’s cooked just right.
It needs to be al dente (just like pasta), never over or under-cooked.
Soba so good!
Food with ingredients for maintaining fundamental nutrition and good health is known as “functional food”. Soba is one such food.
Famous for its dietary fibre content, it contains more than twice the fibre of polished rice. Fibre is essential for intestinal health, and also keeps cholesterol levels down.
Have you ever heard of Vitamin P? Soba contains an component called rutin, which is one of the polyphenols contained in red wine.
Vitamin P is the general term for ingredients containing rutin and furabon (colouring), often found in citrus fruits. It’s also called a flavonoid. Vitamin P is essential for the absorption of Vitamin C, strengthening blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. By taking Vitamin P together with Vitamin C, you can enjoy improved immunity and less fatigue.
The polyphenol contained in Soba is called “Soba polyphenol”. According to the latest research, it improves memory and sustains the life of cerebral memory cells.
It seems that the secret of Soba is sought after all over the world, and as its benefits become clearer, everyone comes to appreciate it more and more!