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Sunday
May172009

Natural Sweet Treats - Dried Persimmon

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: 

  1. Peel the skin from the persimmon, leaving the calyx on top (the bit where it attaches to the branch)
  2. Tie a small piece of string around the calyx on each of the fruits  
  3. Set up a rope to hang the strands of persimmon fruit from.
  4. Space the strands of persimmon along the rope, spacing them evenly to allow for good air circulation
  5. Watch and wait for 6 weeks
  6. 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..

Reader Comments (5)

Those dried persimmon look gorgeous! No experience drying - but I have been looking into electric dehydrators. I had actually forgotten about solar drying....sounds like a great idea...Hope to see a post from you one day making your solar drying rack.

Cheers,
Tricia

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I remember experimenting with really basic solar drying when I was a kid, but haven't done any since. I like the idea though so might make it a project for spring.
Terese.

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarefoot

They look amazing all hung up there. Did you have any issues with fruit flies etc?
Would make lovely garlands at Christmas time with different fruit in session.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFay (ordinary eco)

Thanks for your comments everyone, glad to hear you're all interested in the solar drying too! We didn't have any issues with fruit fly Fay, probably for two reasons - one being that the persimmons were astringent and we think that makes them less succeptable to being stung, and two, we hung the fruit in our enclosed room. The timing may have also helped, seeing as we started drying in early autumn, the fruit flies, and the houseflies had died down a bit, and theren't weren't as many around to sneak through the doors.

You do often see pictures of them drying persimmon in Japan outside, but I'm not sure if they have the issues with household flies and fruits flies that we where we are. Creating an enclosed solar drying rack, with a really fine mesh would be the to go to ensure fruit fly and other flies didn't go for your fruit while it is drying. Building a solar drying rack is definately on our to do list!

Good luck with your drying!

Cheers,

Ally and Rich

May 22, 2009 | Registered CommenterHappyEarth

We dry persimmons year after year in the electric dehydrator. I don't skin them. Just slice them up and stick them in. Taste like candy!

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Bean

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