Clearspring: Why can’t more food brands be like this?

Soba Sushi by Fuss Free Flavours

Clearspring are a quiet little brand, dotted around the supermarket in separate aisles so that their entire range is rarely seen together. Probably if you saw more of their lines, you’d realise how familiar their products are.

Poignantly, on the eve of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disasters, my friend Helly had hosted a surprisingly raucous evening of Clearspring miso tasting for around 10 of us in her sitting room.

It was one of the funniest, most rib aching evenings I can remember, the flipside being the bad news unfolding in Japan the very next morning.

There have been fundraising events all over the web to come to Japan’s aid but a highly practical way we can also help out is by supporting Japanese food products such as those sold by Clearspring.

That night, between the belly laughs, we sampled eight different misos ranging from “hearty red” to “sweet white”. I had previously been unaware of the process making miso which is as complex as that for wine.

I’m also inspired to see miso as a food beyond detox fodder that can flavour stews, dressings and marinades. We even discussed using sweet white miso in puddings such as cheesecake or buttercream on cupcakes!

Probably most well known, is Clearspring’s Japanese range including ingredients such as tofu, soy, miso and sea vegetables.

Many Japanese products sold by Clearspring can be tricky to source from any other brand in the UK. They’re the most obvious label if you want mirin, rice vinegars, wasabi, sushi rice or seaweeds such as nori, dulse, kombo and hijiki.

Less well known from their European ranges are their organic first cold pressed oils, Sicilian roasted almonds, rice cakes, jams and pastas.

At home, I tried out their organic Fruit Purees. Versatile enough to be used as convenient weaning food for small babies, they also make a healthy pudding or breakfast for grown ups.

Refrigeration isn’t essential although they taste good cold. I’ve kept a couple of packs back to experiment with them in some dessert recipes for a later date.

All Clearspring products are organic or premium quality, vegan, ethically sourced supporting producer communities and made without artificial additives, MSG, colourings, preservatives or added sugar. They’re a shining light of how natural foods should be sourced and sold.

But they’re not so great at blowing their own trumpet so if you see Clearspring products on the shelf, I urge you to try them and help keep this unique company going.

With thanks to Clearspring for the puree samples and miso evening.

I will be blogging a miso recipe using Clearspring products in a few days’ time.

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