Orange curtains of sun-drying persimmons are one of the seasonally nostalgic scenes in Japan. Japanese people have been making dried persimmons called Hoshi-gaki (干し柿) from fall to winter. This traditional simple idea came out for eliminating astringency in persimmons and also to preserve them for winter.
The chewy and sweet Hoshigaki attracts some Japanese like my father, on the other hand, its texture let others away like me and my mother.
Dried persimmons have been made not only in Japan but also in Asian countries such as China and South Korea for a long time, but the drying methods and texture differ in each area.
Besides, it is said that Japanese immigrants also introduced the method of making dried persimmons to California, USA.
Like fresh persimmons fruits, dried persimmons are packed with excellent nutrition, and we can’t forget their sweetness!
Actually, making dried persimmons are a simple and easy process.
However, it requires sensitive care in whole steps to fight weather conditions, germs, and bacteria.
- Prepare Astringent Persimmons That Stems & Branches Attached
- Wash, Trim, And Peel
- Tie Twine Around Stems
- Boil For Seconds To Sanitize Fruits
- Important Tips For Dring Persimmons
- Start Massaging After 1 Week
- How Long Does Dried Persimmons Take To Complete
- Don’t Panic! White Powder Covered Persimmons Is NOT Mold!
- General Time Table For Drying Process Of Persimmons
Make Homemade Japanese Dried Persimmons
Choose Right Persimmons For Dried Persimmons
To make traditional Japanese dried persimmons, use only astringent persimmon called “Shibugaki” in Japanese. Such as Hachiya.
Sweet persimmons aka “Ama-gaki” such as Fuyu are commonly not suitable for Japanese dried persimmons.
The reasons why sweet persimmons are not suitable for dried persimmons is that,
- Sweet persimmons are already sweet without eliminating astringency so they will not get sweeter than expected even when being dried. Actually, astringent persimmons have richer sugar content than sweet ones. This is why astringent persimmons become sweeter (it is said 1.5 times sweeter than sugar!) and better than dried sweet persimmons.
- Due to its large, juicy fruit, it is difficult to dry sweet persimmons completely without growing mold or rot.
So basically Fuyu is not good for full-dried persimmons, however, slice them and then make semi-dried persimmons, you can enjoy Fuyu in the different flavors and textures.
Step By Step To Make Japanese Dried Persimmons
- Rinse persimmons.
- Trim sepals to short as possible you can.
- Trim around stems.
- Peel skins.
- Tie twins around stems tightly.
- Boil persimmon straps for sanitizing.
- Hang persimmons.
- Massage persimmons.
Prepare Astringent Persimmons That Stems & Branches Attached
The most common way to dry persimmons is by using twine to tie each persimmon and hang.
First of all, leave a branch with a stem when harvesting yourself. If you live in Japan, you can purchase shibugaki that attaches short branches shaped “T” for dried persimmons.
At least, pick astringent persimmons attached “I” shaped stems.
Also, choose unripe and smaller ones.
But don’t worry, I am going to tell you another way to dry persimmons that don’t have “T” branches later.
Wash, Trim, And Peel
Trim sepals with a pair of scissors as short as you can, just because molds may grow if a sepal is too big.
Trim away the top parts with a sharp knife. Be sure not to cut off the stem, and trim parts like making a ring around the stem. If you are concerned about using a sharp knife, you can use a sharp peeler. But I think a knife is easier after getting used to it. Yet, persimmons are hard so be careful about this process.
When trimming away top parts, peel the rest of the parts of persimmons with a peeler. Make sure there are no remaining itsy-bitsy skins. It causes mold or affects uncomfortable texture.
By the way, it doesn’t matter if you trim around the stem first or peel off the skin first.
Better to peel all skins for dried persimmons. Because skins will keep moisture to protect fruits so it will cause be rotten.
Tie Twine Around Stems
Well, there are several ways to tie twine around stems (“T” branches). You can tie many persimmons in one strap, or tieing one persimmon in two ends of the same piece of twine.
This persimmon strap is called “Kaki Sudare” (柿すだれ) in Japan, which means “Persimmon Sudare curtain”. If you do this way, Make space between the persimmons for well-vent and well-sun lighted.
Boil For Seconds To Sanitize Fruits
There are many germs and bacterial virus that exists in the air and also on our hands.
Sanitize before sun-drying persimmons.
Allow water boiled well in a big pot.
Boil persimmon straps for 5 -10 seconds. (DO NOT COOK THEM.)
Operationally, if you have high ABV liquor in a spray bottle, spray around persimmons for extra sanitizing.
Important Tips For Dring Persimmons
First of all, you need to know about the climate condition for dried persimmons. Not like the sun-dried food I talk about here, for homemade dried persimmons,
the warm and hot season is NOT suitable. Because it will cause persimmons to mold and rot.
If you live in a hot and humid climate, it is difficult to make Japanese dried persimmons.
The best conditions for making dried persimmons are weather like fall and beginning winter, which is chilly and dried. (Days that the temperature will be around 10C (50F), and keep no rains and snow. )
Moreover, the best place to hang up persimmon straps is…
- Under roof (Not affected by weather conditions.)
- Mild Sunlight
- Under roof (Not affected by weather conditions.)
- Mild Sunlight
Hang up persimmon without touching each other. If the persimmons attach with each other or a twine, they will rot from there.
Also, try to not touch the surfaces with bare hands.
To make better “Hoshigaki”, persimmons should be dried gradually. Being dried rapidly may become hard and not delicious, so you may better avoid a place exposed to strong sun lights especially you live in a mild climate area.
Yet, it may cause infection when retaining moisture on the surface too long. You can use a fan to dry the surface quickly for the first couple of hours, then dry them gradually.
Speaking of the mild climate, you need extra caution about mold. Better spray high ABV liquor to sanitize the surface of fruits once in a while.
Can You Dry Persimmons Inside Building?
Technically, the answer is YES. Hang up persimmon straps at the place faced to South well-vented and well-sun lighted. Keep a fan running all day. Until the surface is fully dried, use medium power and then turn it down to low. Dehumifyser will be required if needed.
Compared with sun-dried ones outside, the drying process will proceed quickly. Only after a few days, the surface will be firmed and whitened, and start massaging.
It will be a week or longer to complete drying them.
Because of the fast proceed of the drying process, sometimes it is not long enough for astringent persimmons to sweeten. You may want to use sweet persimmons despite saying sweet persimmons are not suitable. As I mentioned, just because the sweet persimmons are already sweet and suitable for semi-drying in a rapid process anyway.
In conclusion, it is better to dry persimmons outside to make authentic delicious dried persimmons. However, it is possible to make one in the room if you take care of them really well such as keeping the best room air conditions. In this way, using sweet persimmons will be an option to be successful in making sweet dried persimmons because of the rapid proceeding of the drying process.
Start Massaging After 1 Week
Keep your eyes on persimmons to prevent mold from growing especially for the first week. Spray high ABV liquor once or two times if needed, and try not to touch them with bare hands.
A week later or so, check if the outside of the persimmon becomes hard. If so, gently massage fruits with your fingers every few days. This is for making moisture uniform and dried persimmons will be sweeter. Larger persimmons need more massage to get rid of astringency.
If you push too powerful, the pulp will come out through the skin or a stem.
Don’t forget to massage gently.
Better use disposable rubber gloves to keep persimmons clean.
How Long Does Dried Persimmons Take To Complete
Dry for 2-4 weeks depending on how juicy you preferred. Generally, small persimmons take for 2 weeks, and a bigger one takes longer for up to 4 weeks. If you like well-dried ones, keep drying for up to 40 days.
If you don’t massage fruits, it takes longer.
Don’t Panic! White Powder Covered Persimmons Is NOT Mold!
You can see white powder covering the surface of dried persimmons. This white powder is called “persimmon frost” in Japan, which is the sugar contains in the persimmon that comes out and dried.
This is evidence of the delicious dried persimmons.
Besides since this is a crystal of glucose (glucose), and it is a quick-acting energy source, which helps to recover from fatigue.
If there is white powder on the surface of the full-dried persimmon, it is persimmon frost. But if you see white fluffy powder in the middle of the drying process, it is a high possibility of mildew.
Don’t be disappointed and wait to throw them into the trash bin. Spray high ABV liquor and use a paper towel or toothbrush to thoroughly scrape off the mold. If the mold will not grow again, it should be alright.
General Time Table For Drying Process Of Persimmons
|Day.1||Use a fan until moisture on the surface is away. |
(for a couple of hours, not too long.)
Humidity can cause mold, be careful especially for the first week.
If it rains, put it indoors.
|Day.3||Pay attention if black spots appear. |
It could be moldy, so wipe it off with a cotton swab soaked in high-ABV alcohol.
The black spots you see inside the fruit are the astringent ingredients
called tannin, so you don’t have to worry about it.
|Day.7||After a week, the color becomes darker, wrinkles increase, |
and it will shrink.
Start gently massaging with two fingers to remove the astringency.
|Day.10||The color becomes darker and is close to being finished.|
You can enjoy semi-dried persimmons at this point.
But you can’t store it at room temperature.
up to 40 days
|Depending on the size of the persimmon and the weather, |
it may not be ready to go.
Adjust the drying period.
Use Sticks To Hang Persimmons
When you buy persimmons from the market, usually they don’t have attached stems. (In Japan, astringent persimmons for dried persimmons are sold. )
Prepare long and strong sticks enough to hang persimmons if persimmons attached stems are unavailable. Thinner sticks are easy to stub through fruit and wooden or steel stainless doesn’t matter. Whichever is available for you, is fine.
- Follow 1-4 steps in the same way above.
- Sanitize persimmons with boiled water.
- Stab an upper part with a stick and repeat doing this as many persimmons as a stick can hold while keeping space with each other.
- Spray high AVB liquor
- Tie twines on both ends of a stick and hang.
You can use skewers too. When using them, stub one persimmon in one skewer and tie a piece of twine on both ends of the skewers.
Can I Use A Drying Net Or A Baboo Basket Like Sun-Drying?
But not unlike hanging, attaching area increased to use of a net or a basket. You need extra attention to persimmons to prevent growing mold.
Changing position every few days is better. Don’t forget to use disposable gloves.
Spray high ABV liquor frequently.
After about 2 weeks, when the surface becomes dry and darkens, gently massage them.
However, in this way, the risk of growing mold will be increased.
If you live in a mild climate, this way maybe not be suitable.
When using a basket, you also need to keep eye on bugs, birds, and other animals.
As the Japanese saying, “when persimmon fruits are ripe, a doctor will be pale”, persimmons are rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber, and more.
Originally, persimmons are packed with excellent nutrition.
Even though Vitamin C will be reduced in dried persimmons, significantly increase dietary fiber and vitamin A.
Dietary fiber is often insoluble and can be expected to have the effect of promoting intestinal regulation and the discharge of harmful substances.
Moreover, it is rich in vitamin A, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid, which are called essential fatty acids, that effects are lowering cholesterol and smoothing blood flow.
I write about persimmons health benefits here more, please read next.
How To Store Dried Persimmons
If it is well-dried, it can be stored at room temperature. Wrap each with kitchen paper and place it in a well-ventilated and cool place.
However, it still cannot be stored for a very long period. Try to consume them in 3 days.
Store dried persimmons in a refrigerator so that you can enjoy them for up to 1 month. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, and put them in a sealable bag.
If you want to keep them longer, freeze them. It will last for 3 months. In the same way as to store in a refrigerator, wrap each and put them in a sealable bag.
In Japan, people really enjoy making homemade dried persimmons “Hoshigaki”.
It seems too many tips but, basically only keeps eyes on persimmons to prevent growing mold every day.
To avoid moldy dried persimmons, choose the right drying place and the right season.
You can’t believe the sweetness of dried persimmons and maybe not be able to stop eating,
however, 1 or 2 dried persimmons should be enough per day.
Read here about the side effects of persimmons.