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Senbei Trivia

Here is another blog post about Senbei!

How to Store Senbei

There are three things to keep in mind when storing senbei. 1. Avoid humidity and direct sunlight. When storing senbei, we recommend a place that avoids humidity and direct sunlight, such as a freezer. If senbei are left in high humidity, they will lose their texture and, in the worst case, become moldy and inedible. Also, if stored in direct sunlight, they may oxidize. The delicious senbei will lose their flavor if stored in the wrong place, so store them in a suitable place. Freezers have lower humidity than refrigerators or kitchen cabinets, so you can keep senbei without getting them moist. Because it is sealed and out of direct sunlight, the senbei will keep their flavor longer as well. You may be thinking the senbei might freeze if you put them in the freezer, but don't worry. Since they contain almost no water, they do not get truly frozen. They feel a little cool in the mouth if eaten immediately. You can either eat that way or wait a bit until they get less cold. 2. Use airtight containers or bags. If you have an airtight container or an airtight bag with a zipper, you can store senbei in a more optimal environment. After opening the package, or even if the package is unopened, the senbei may come into contact with moisture in the air, which can cause them to become stale. By placing the senbei in an airtight container or bag, you can prevent them from being exposed to air as much as possible, so they will stay crispy for longer. It is even more effective to add a desiccant along with the senbei when placing them in the container or bag. 3. Eat as soon as possible after opening the package. You might have come up with this idea already, but it is recommended to eat the senbei as soon as possible after opening the package. Once the bag is opened, the senbei will inevitably come into contact with air, and the texture will gradually change. If you cannot eat up immediately after opening the package, choose individually wrapped senbei.


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How to Revive Stale Senbei to a Crispy Condition

If your senbei have become stale, try one of the following three methods. These methods will remove the moisture from the senbei and restore the crispy texture. All of these methods are quick and easy to do, so please refer to them if your crackers have become stale due to a wrong storage method. 1. Heat in a microwave. Heating stale senbei in a microwave may restore the original texture. To do this, simply place the cracker on a heat-resistant container and heat it for 15 seconds to 30 seconds without covering with a plastic wrap. This is an easy way to try when you want to eat senbei that have been in the freezer and want to keep them warm in no time. 2. Heat in a toaster oven. You can also use a toaster oven to revive stale senbei. Place the senbei in the toaster oven and then heat them for 40 seconds to 1 minute. Using a toaster oven tends to burn the senbei easily, so try to keep an eye on them from time to time. 3. Bake in a frying pan. Moist senbei can be baked in a frying pan to return them to a crispy texture. Place the senbei on a frying pan without oil and cook them slowly on both sides over low heat. High heat will burn them quickly, so the key is to heat them slowly over low heat until they are slightly browned.


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History of Senbei

There are various theories on how senbei were born, but it is said that they were actually introduced from China, just like the original style of miso that we introduced in the last newsletter. Although senbei have the impression of having originated in Japan even for Japanese people, they were actually based on Chinese food. The history of senbei goes back to between 202 BC and 8 BC At that time, senbei were a part of the meal for celebratory occasions in China. In Japan, senbei are said to have been introduced during the Asuka Period (592-710), and in 737, the word senbei was mentioned in the document called Tajima no Kuni Shozeicho. However, according to another theory, it is said that during the Heian period (794-1185), a Japanese monastic Kukai liked Chinese senbei so much that he learned how to make them and handed them down to Japan. Which do you think is the real? Well, we'll never know. Senbei in the old days in Japan were made from wheat flour and water, not rice. A dictionary from the first half of the 10th century called Wamyo Ruijusho describes senbei as wheat flour roasted in oil, indicating that senbei were a different food than it is today. That style of senbei, made of wheat flour and water, were produced until the Edo period (1603-1867). There were several stores selling flour senbei in the city of Edo. The senbei sold today have been around since the Meiji period (1868-1912). At that time, an elderly woman sold dango dumplings at Soka Shuku, a post inn town on the Nikko Kaido highway. When she threw away the unsold dango, a samurai suggested flattening and baking them, which is said to have led to the creation of today's senbei. (Incidentally, people at Soka Shuku used to eat something like senbei, which were made by crushing steamed rice, rolling it up, sprinkling salt on it, and baking it.) The senbei sold at Soka Shuku captured the hearts of customers and became very popular. An interesting fact is that the word senbei was named after the old lady who sold senbei at Soka Shuku, Osen. In addition, most senbei are round in shape. It is said to be a remnant of the fact that round dango were flattened and baked in those days. Therefore, both the name and shape of senbei are related to Soka Shuku. Senbei became popular because it was possible to harvest a large amount of Uruchi rice, the raw material for senbei. The manufacturing process does not require lots of time and effort to make senbei. That is why they have continued to be made ever since their creation. Also, the unique Japanese spirit of not wasting food probably led to the popularization of this snack for the masses.


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There is a lot of food items, housewares, stationery, and gifts available at the store and our online store, Maido! Kairashi Shop, where you can place your order for shipping or store pickup! Happy shopping. :)


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