Preserving with Magnolia Leaves
Because of its pleasant fragrance, bactericidal and antiseptic qualities, the leaf of the magnolia hypoleuca, prevalent in the Hida Region, is used to wrap up sushi or pounded rice in the hot humid summer months. Hoba Sushi, or sushi wrapped in magnolia leaves, became popular because they could be eaten without the use of crockery or cutlery, and so were particularly suited for lunch boxes at times when the village folk were busy out in the vegetable patches or paddy fields.
Furthermore, as the leaf is resistant to heat, they can even be used to replace a small pan to heat miso and other preserved foods. In the old days when pickled vegetables were one of the staple foods, magnolia leaves were often used to heat up frozen morsels over the open fireplace.