There’s something magical about drying fruit – watching your plump produce transform into balls of intensely sweet, small, chewy treats!
We were lucky enough to pick a whole bag of persimmons on our ‘fruit rescue’ adventure back in March. There’s two types of persimmon fruit, astringent and non-astringent. The fruit on the astringent varieties can only be eaten when it’s really soft and gooey (tasting like sweet cinnamon jelly), while the non astringent persimmon can be eaten when they are firm (like a crunchy apple with a hint of cinnamon) as well as soft. Eating an under-ripe astringent persimmon leaves a horrible floury taste in your mouth – so be sure to know which kind of persimmon you have! Persimmons are a fabulous fruit - the tree is stunning and perfect for backyards.
Our abundance of astringent persimmon, which had turned orange, but not yet softened, was perfect for experimenting in the Japanese art of persimmon drying, to create what the Japanese call ‘Hoshi Gaki.’ Following some advice from articles like this, the process we followed was:
- Peel the skin from the persimmon, leaving the calyx on top (the bit where it attaches to the branch)
- Tie a small piece of string around the calyx on each of the fruits
- Set up a rope to hang the strands of persimmon fruit from.
- Space the strands of persimmon along the rope, spacing them evenly to allow for good air circulation
- Watch and wait for 6 weeks
- Enjoy the first of our natural, sweet treats, and store the remainder in an air tight container
In the picture below, the whiteness on the outside is the natural sugars from the persimmon coming out - it's not some crazy fungus! (At least if it was it didn't kill us!)
Alternatively, you could dry the persimmon in a solar drier, which probably would have been quicker, or an electric dehydrator which would have been much quicker. But it was nice to watch our balls of fruit develop over time! We’re planning to build a solar drier rack one day. Have you had any experiences drying fruit? We’ve love to hear about them..