Monday, November 8, 2010

Drying Persimmons at Home

Today I want to talk about persimmons again. When we bought our place, there were two persimmon trees on it. Which is great, because I love dried persimmons- the topic of this post.

So- in order to make dried persimmons, or as we call them over here- Hoshi-Gaki, you will need persimmons! Surprise! There are two types of persimmons- the astringent (usually acorn shaped) and the non astringent (usually square). You want an astringent cultivar like "Hachiya."

When you find some, make sure they are fully orange, but still apple hard. If you pick your own, you may find some soft and gooey, some medium soft, and others apple hard. All have uses, but for drying, you want them hard.

Note the safety equipment when climbing
A little note about picking them- In Japan, we use a bamboo pole with the tip cut in a duckbill shape and split to the first node. Think of old clothespins.  If you wrap electrical tape around the node, it will help keep the pole from splitting too far. Then you can just slip the twig holding the fruit into the tip, give it a twist, and it will come right off. Persimmon trees are brittle as all get out, so you shouldn't climb them without ropes and a harness. 

What you need to get ready: twine, peeler, and persimmons.
Now that you have the hard persimmons, trim the stem to make a "T" shape, and peel them. Your hands will get all gummy from the tannin. This is natural, don't worry. While you are at it, pop a peel into your mouth for an interesting sensation- The astringency makes the juice feel dry in your mouth. I can't explain it better than that.

Next tie the twine around the top of the peeled persimmon. No need for a fancy knot, just an overhand knot is plenty. Tie them up at 15-20 cm intervals (6-8 inches).

Drying Persimmons in 2010
Now they are ready for hanging. Usually they are hung under an overhanging eave of a house, to keep them from any sudden rain, which will make them moldy and ruin them. But if your weather is fairly stable, you can hang them from a clothesline if you want. Just take them inside if rain threatens. The most important things are sun and circulation. After two weeks, they will be shriveled up and dark orange to brown. You can keep them hanging for longer of course. Often a sugar bloom forms on the outside- this is a good sign.

Photo from
In the end, you should have a wonderful dried fruit that looks and tastes like a date. So pour a cup of green tea, take a seat on the floor near a south facing window, and enjoy contrasting the sweet, sweet persimmon with the bitter green of the tea.


  1. Thanks for the mice trap suggestion! I might just build one this weekend.

    I love persimmons, especially the non-astringent type. I do remember my dad laughing after after he had given me an unripe astringent persimmon to eat for the first time. I think it's a rite of passage for most Asian kids. The sensation is awful!

  2. Hello, can you tell me what the ideal temp should be for air drying persimmons this way? I live in the USA, in the midwest, persimmons are currently in season. It gets cold really cold here but I would like to try this method. Thank you,

    1. Hello Dao!
      It is best if the temperature is fairly cool, to keep the insects away.