Hikiwari Natto & Kotsubu Natto: Types of Natto Beans
Natto (納豆) is a fermented soybean known as a superfood despite its characteristic smell and slimy/sticky consistency.
As you know, the delicacy of Japanese origin brings various health benefits and can contribute to a long life.
But have you ever heard that the food comes in several types based on the size of the beans?
|Size of Soybeans||Name of Natto|
|Large||O-Tsubu Natto (大粒納豆)|
|Middle||Chu-Tsubu Natto (中粒納豆)|
|Small||Ko-Tsubu Natto (小粒納豆)|
|Very Small||Gokusho Natto (極小納豆)|
|Extremely Small||Cho-Gokusho Natto (超極小納豆)|
|Crushed||Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆)|
According to the website of the leading natto producer Takano Foods (タカノフーズ), natto is classified into six types based on the size, as listed in the table.
In terms of popularity, small-size natto, such as Kotsubu Natto, sells much better in Japan than the middle and large-size Chutsubu Natto and Otsubu Natto.
Meanwhile, the crushed, fermented soybean called Hikiwari Natto accounts for about 7 to 8 percent of the market share.
Hikiwari Natto vs. Kotsubu Natto (Tsubu Natto)
As I have a Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆) and a Kotsubu Natto (小粒納豆) on hand, this time, let’s take a close look at and compare these natto beans.
The products are from different natto makers, but as you can see, the polystyrene containers are uniform in size, color, and shape.
Not only them, but most natto products sold at grocery stores in Japan enclose such sachets of Karashi and Tare.
Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆)
Hikiwari Natto (on the left) has a light brown hue compared to Tsubu Natto (粒納豆: Whole Bean Natto), including Kotsubu Natto (on the right) because it takes less time to ferment.
Besides, Hikiwari Natto is easier to digest and richer in Vitamin K, which helps absorb calcium efficiently.
Kotsubu Natto (小粒納豆)
In contrast, as with other Tsubu Natto (such as Otsubu Natto and Chutsubu Natto), Kotsubu Natto has a dark brown color compared to Hikiwari Natto.
According to the fermentation period, the former whole bean varieties take on a deep taste and an intense smell compared to the latter crushed type.
Nonetheless, there is no significant difference in stickiness and sliminess.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 納豆 )