by Mr. Homegrown
How to Make
HoshiGaki (Dried Persimmons)
Dried Persimmon Fruit
be eaten fresh, the 'Hachiya' persimmon must be completely soft,
otherwise it is unbearably astringent. For drying, however, the fruits
are perfect when the shoulders just lose their green, but are still
firm like apples, generally from the end of September to the middle of
October. The riper they are, the more delicately they must be handled.
Making HoshiGaki requires patience, careful monitoring, and a fair
amount of dexterity. However, if you follow the method closely, you
will achieve a rewarding product that is succulent, very handsome, and
makes wonderful Holiday gifts.
Finding 'Hachiya' persimmons
with a 20 lb box of medium sized 'Hachiya' Persimmons with the stems
intact, and store them calyx down. (If you pick your own fruit, pull
upward against the branch to retain the stem.) Handle the fruit very
gently, as any bruise will create a soft spot that will make peeling
difficult and may create a leak during the drying process. Larger
persimmons can be dried too and yields a superior product, but require
more massaging, so medium fruit is best for beginners. Call your county
Agricultural Commissioner or local Farm Bureau to find farmers in your
Step 2: Peel
in a comfortable chair with a bucket or newspaper between your legs,
prop your arms on your knees, and with a sharp paring knife, cut the
shoulders off the fruit so they are even with the flat disk of the
calyx, with one circular motion. Remove the loose part of the calyx,
leaving the stem and a ring of calyx the size of a quarter. The rest of
the peeling is best done with a peeler whose blade is set perpendicular
to the handle, the clear Swiss peeler is what the pros use. Holding the
fruit calyx up in one hand, draw the blade down the side to the point.
go over the point once, as the membrane under the skin is thinnest
here, and the fruit will leak out later if you take off too much.
Rotate the fruit so you are holding the skin side, not the newly peeled
side, and take another peel. Continue until all the peel is gone and
place in a cupcake pan, calyx up. The most important step is even
peeling, with the minimum of smooth consistent strokes.
are inevitable, but the more pronounced they are, the more work lays
ahead as the persimmons dry. Persimmons are very slippery and will turn
your skin brown from the tannic acid. If you bruise the fruit or
accidentally peel too deeply, small areas can be patched with a peeling
of membrane lain over the spot like a band aid.
Hanging the persimmons
traditional method of hanging the fruit places several on a string. It
is easier to hang two fruit of about the same weight on one string over
a pole. If you vary the lengths of the string, you can fit more pairs
per length of pole by offsetting the heights. Closet pole works well.
If the fruit touches its neighbor or the string while drying, it will
stick, create a weak point and break open in the next step. A warm, dry
environment, like a sunny window, is best. Allowing the temperature to
drop and the humidity to rise at night will slow the process and make
the fruit more pliable for the next step. Placing the fruit in direct
sun may speed the process, but you will have to massage it more
often. The fruit must be protected from the dew, or it will get moldy.
If the stem is gone, drive a stainless screw into the calyx and attach
the string to it.
Massaging the fruit
hanging for 7 to 10 days the persimmon will form a skin, and you will
be able to begin massaging them to break up the hard inner pulp. Give
one persimmon a squeeze just below the shoulder. If there is a little
give, gently continue massaging with the tips of your fingers until the
inside is consistently squishy, being careful not to tear the skin.
Leave the fruit as flat as possible so it will dry evenly. Repeat the
process with each fruit.
After a few more days, check to make sure they are drying uniformly
without hard edges.
tend to happen along the peeling ridges. If the edges are getting hard,
hold the fruit longitudinally in your hands, and gently roll the outer
skin, leaving the flat edges in a different spot after going over the
Take care to avoid creases in the skin, as they
create weak points that are susceptible to mold. If you encounter mold,
brush it off with a moistened tooth brush, dry, reposition flattened
and re-hang. Remember to try to leave each fruit evenly thick all over
after each handling. Keep massaging the fruit gently every 3 days.
your fruit nears the end of the process, three to five weeks, sugar
will come to the surface as you massage them, leaving a white bloom.
The Hoshigaki are fully done when the pulp sets and you can no longer
Mission Successful! They dried to perfection in
estimate that one out of ten new homesteading projects succeeds. Which
is why I’m especially happy that the long process of drying
persimmons the Japanese way (hoshigaki) has been a big success. The
white powder that looks like mold is sugar in the fruit that has risen
to the surface. The result is, incidentally, very different from drying
persimmons in a dehydrator (which also tastes good but has a much
firmer texture–hoshigaki has the texture of a gummy bear).
took about a month. One observation is that the persimmons that got the
most sun also developed the most “frosting”.
sells for upwards of $35 a pound–I just saw some at a Japanese
market and they did not look as good as the ones I made. This is
definitely a project I’ll be repeating next year. They would make
a great gift along with some green tea.
finished, break off the stems to disconnect the strings. Store the
fruit in ziplock bags. You can store the finished product long term in
the freezer. For the short term, refrigerate. Protect from external