Hanging peeled persimmons being dried to make Hoshigaki in Mountain View, California.

Hoshigaki – Peeled Hanging Persimmons

My relationship with persimmons is complicated. I once bought a house in Cupertino after falling in love with the 20′ Hachiya persimmon tree in the backyard. After moving from California to Colorado, a renter chopped down several mature trees including the beloved persimmon. I only found out the tree was gone after the renter skipped.

Strolling in our Mountain View neighborhood this evening, my husband and I came across the peeled hanging persimmons seen in the picture above. The fruit is being air dried by a neighbor to make Japanese Hoshigaki. Once dried, the fruit takes on a caramel date-like flavor transforming the Hoshigaki into a traditional Japanese winter treat. If you have a persimmon tree or a friendly neighbor with one, consider making Japanese Hoshigaki yourself.

Persimmon fruit begins to ripen this time of year giving the trees some fall bling. Later, as the leaves fall, the fruit takes on the look of festive holiday ornaments. There is a beautiful persimmon tree at Filoli that I always enjoy in the fall.

If you are thinking of planting a persimmon, you will want to select sunny location with well draining soil. Persimmon trees develop a deep root system so don’t do well in containers. The trees will require regular watering as they get started and during long summer-dry periods. Light annual pruning will promote additional fruit production.

I don’t love the taste of raw persimmon. The fruit is bitter if it isn’t perfectly ripe. Once ripe, the fruit can rapidly become mushy. That’s the signal for the arrival of my mom’s amazing persimmon pudding.

-Leslie
Update October 24, 2013 – Following is a photo of the hoshigaki that have now been drying for three weeks.
3rd week of persimmons drying to make hoshigaki

 

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